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The new $15,000 literary prize will be awarded to the best Kiswahili unpublished manuscripts or books published within two years of the award year across the categories of fiction/short fiction collection, poetry and memoir and graphic novels.

On 22 November, 2014, we announced the new Mabati-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature at the Ake Arts & Book Festival in Abeokuta, Nigeria. The prize has the express goal of recognizing writing in African languages and encouraging translation from, between and into African languages.

The prize is named after its primary sponsors, Mabati Rolling Mills (a subsidiary of the Safal Group), a roofing company based in Kenya, and Cornell University, an Ivy League university in Ithaca, New York. That one of the major sponsors is based in Kenya shows that African philanthropy can lead the way in underwriting African cultural production. Cornell’s support is through the Africana Studies and Research Center and the Follow us on twitter: @KiswahiliPrize and most certainly like us on Facebook: Mabati-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature. You can also reach us via email at [email][email protected]

* Dr. Mukoma Wa Ngugi is an Assistant Professor of English at Cornell University and the author of ‘Black Star Nairobi’ (Melville, 2013), ‘Nairobi Heat’ (Melville 2011), ‘Hurling Words at Consciousness’, and the forthcoming ‘Mrs. Shaw’ (Ohio University Press) and ‘Hunting Words with my Father’ (Africa Poetry Fund) in 2015.

* Dr. Lizzy Attree is the Director of the Caine Prize for African Writing and co-founder of the Mabati-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature. She has a PhD from SOAS, University of London and ‘Blood on the Page’, her collection of interviews with the first African writers to write about HIV and AIDS from Zimbabwe and South Africa, was published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010. She is on the board of Writivism, which is part of the Centre for African Cultural Excellence (CACE) and currently acts as the trustee responsible for mentoring. In 2015 she will teach African Literature at Kings College London.