Safal-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature: 2022

We are pleased to announce the call for submissions for the 7th edition of The Safal Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature.  The prize, founded in 2014 by Dr. Lizzy Attree (Short Story Day Africa) and Dr. Mukoma Wa Ngugi (Cornell University), has the express goal of recognizing writing in African languages and encouraging translation from, between and into African languages. For the first time, the prize name has changed to reflect the parent organization of our main sponsors – The Safal Group Limited. From this 7th Edition, the prize will bear the name, Safal-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature.

Award Criteria: The prize will be awarded to unpublished manuscripts across the categories of fiction, poetry and memoir, and graphic novels. From this year onwards, we will not consider previously published books. The total proposed awards of 15,000 US dollars will be divided as follows:

1st Fiction/Non-Fiction Prize 5,000 US dollars;
1st Poetry Prize, 5,000 US dollars
Runner-up Prize 2,500 US dollars in any genre
Runner-up Prize 2,500 US dollars in any genre

The winning entries will be considered for publication in Kiswahili by Mkuki na Nyota Publishers (Tanzania), who will then 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 East Africa with all the shortlisted writers in attendance.

Submission Guidelines:

Please send unpublished manuscripts (fiction, poetry, collections of short stories, and memoir, or graphic novels) to, from April 5, 2022. Submissions close on June 30, 2022. For more information, please visit our Kiswahili and English bilingual website.

Only one entry per writer per category may be submitted each year. Previous winners are not eligible for 2 years.

  • Manuscripts should not be less than 50,000 words for fiction and 60 pages for poetry
  • All entries must be in Kiswahili
  • Entries should be attached in Microsoft Word or Rich Text format, with the title of the story as the file name
  • The first page of the story should include the name of the story and the number of words
  • The entry must be typed in Times New Roman 12-point font with 1.5 line spacing
  • Send submissions as attachments
  • The email included with the submission attachment should include the following information: Legal Name, Pen Name, Telephone Number, Short Bio, Age, and Country of Residence
  • The subject line must include the words Kiswahili Prize 2022.

For full details, please refer to:

Enquiries about submissions should be directed to The Safal Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature, please always refer to their website for complete details and information.

Please note, this prize is run by The Safal Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature, not Commonwealth Writers.