The 2020 Safal Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature has announced the call for submissions of manuscripts for its 7th edition. Submissions close on June 30, 2022.

The prize, formerly known as The Mabati Cornell Kiswahili Prize for Africa Literature, recently rebranded after it changed its main sponsor to the Safal Group Limited. Safal is the largest supplier of building solutions in Africa with 36 operations in 8 countries.

The prize, founded in 2014 by Dr. Lizzy Attree (Short Story Day Africa) and Dr. Mukoma Wa Ngugi (Cornell University), has the goal of recognizing writing in African languages and encouraging translation from, between and into African languages.

“Our objective is to promote the Kiswahili language through our education pillar in supporting African literature, we hope to receive a lot more submissions from Kenyan writers for the 7th edition, as we aim to nurture future writers to excel in this field,” said Mr. Anders Lindgren, CEO SAFAL Group.

While looking to spark conversation around Kiswahili literacy or raised awareness of published Kiswahili manuscripts, we encourage writers from Kenya and all over the continent to submit their manuscripts and take part in this year’s competition, he added.

Over the last six years, the Cornel Kiswahili Prize has supported Kiswahili authors whose manuscripts have been published with others in the pipeline of getting published. In 2021, for its 6th edition, 256 manuscripts were submitted with 80 Kenyan writers participating in the Kiswahili Awards competition.

In January this year, the winners of the 2021 Awards were unveiled at a special ceremony in Dar es salaam where HE. Kassim Majaliwa, Prime Minister of the United Republic of Tanzania was the guest of honor.

This year, the overall prize will be awarded to unpublished manuscripts across the categories of fiction, poetry, memoir, and graphic novels. As from 2022, previously published books will not be considered. The total prize of Ksh. 1.7 million ($15,000) will be divided as follows:

  • The top Fiction/Non-Fiction Prize will scoop a total reward of Ksh. 580,500 ($5,000)
  • The top Poetry Prize will also be rewarded a similar amount of Ksh. 580,500 ($5,000)
  • The two Runner-up Prizes will both be rewarded with Ksh. 290,250 ($2,500) in any of the genres written.

The winning entries will be considered for publication in Kiswahili by Mkuki na Nyota Publishers (Tanzania). They will work with other regional publishers and book distributors to ensure maximum reach for the winning books. The winning poetry will be translated to English and published by the Africa Poetry Book Fund. An award ceremony will be held in Tanzania with all the shortlisted writers in attendance.

Submission Guidelines

Writers should send unpublished manuscripts (fiction, poetry, collections of short stories, and memoir, or graphic novels) to, Submissions close on June 30, 2022.