Short Story Day Africa Inkubator

SSDA Inkubator is an intensive, three-month, online seminar designed by Short Story Day Africa and Laxfield Literary Associates, for writers to develop, grow and hone their fiction writing and self-editing skills, as well as create an environment for cultural exchange and dialogue between writers from different backgrounds. It is a place for writers to support writers: to learn, to teach, and to mentor each other and create new, ongoing support networks.

The 12 successful participants will be mentored through an extensive curriculum that covers writing, editing, preparing work for submission, as well as how to approach agents and publishers. Inkubator consists of six online workshops and a moderated online forum, with professional facilitation from some of Africa’s most renowned writers and editors.

Emma Shercliff of Laxfield Literary Associates – a literary agency that provides representation for authors in Norfolk and Suffolk, and writers from under-represented backgrounds, with a particular interest in working with authors based in Africa, the Middle East and Ukraine – brings her vast experience of publishing in both Africa and the UK to Inkubator, and will host the seminar’s final workshop.

Inkubator is free to the selected writers, and on completion of three stories, each writer will receive an honorarium of R5300 (approx. £250*) . Selected short stories written during the seminar will be collected in an e-book  anthology to be published by Short Story Day Africa.

SSDA Inkubator is supported by the British Council Cultural Exchange programme, which supports cultural organisations, festivals, artists and creatives between the countries of Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) and the United Kingdom (UK) to create art, build networks, collaborate and develop markets and share artists’ work with audiences.

* subject to exchange rates at completion


Who may apply?

This year, SSDA will be listening out for the voice less heard – the writer with limited access to programmes, publishers or projects, the disadvantaged wordsmith – and for this reason, regrettably, applicants residing within London, Nigeria or South Africa can apply by invitation only.

  1. Anglophone writers from the following Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries are invited to submit an application: Botswana, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Namibia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, eSwatini, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe; and

  2. Writers living in England outside of London, especially, but not limited to, writers of underrepresented backgrounds (i.e. any writers whose voices are not often heard on the global stage), are invited to apply.

  3. All writers applying must meet the following criteria:

    1. Be between the ages of 18 – 35;

    2. Have a previous history of publication, online or in print, in a publication that is not their own self-published blog or self-publishing website;

    3. Be willing/able to participate in six online Saturday workshops (two per month, beginning mid-May); and

    4. Be willing to actively engage on the online Inkubator forum to support their fellow participants.


How to apply

Applicants must submit a single, complete work of prose fiction (any genre, any topic) strictly between 800 – 1000 words in length, along with a covering letter of no more than 300 words explaining who they are and why they want to participate in Inkubator, as well as a writer’s bio that includes their publication history, of no longer than 300 words, before the submission deadline. No late applications will be considered. Submission details are available on the Short Story Day Africa website here.

Submissions will be judged on quality, creativity, plot, voice, aptitude and promise. Writers are urged to submit only their best work. Subvert! Reimagine! And surprise us!

Enquiries about applications should be directed to the organisation running the opportunity, please always refer to their website for complete details and information.

Please note, this opportunity is run by Short Story Day Africa, in association with Laxfield Literary Associates, not Commonwealth Writers.