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The Island Prize for a Debut Novel from Africa

31 January 2024

“As African writers, we are often faced with a double dose of challenges. Firstly, getting published within African countries can be incredibly difficult because local publishers are often constrained by finances. Secondly, for many writers getting published overseas is almost impossible because the rest of the world has certain ideas of what an African story should be. Having experienced these challenges first-hand – being told that a novel is ‘too African’ or ‘not African enough’ – I know how important it is that stories from Africa be given a wide variety of platforms so that they can be shared at home and abroad without the need to fit certain moulds. I am proud to be part of The Island Prize for a Debut Novel from Africa – a competition where the judges are African and where the winners have an opportunity of being published both in the UK and in South Africa. This is one step towards bridging the gap between here and there, us and them. In fact, it is through prizes like these that authors across the continent can gain the confidence to tell stories as they wish. The hope is that, with time, such stories will become appreciated across the globe, without first being labelled as an exception or a surprise.” – Karen Jennings

From the submitted entries, no more than TEN and no fewer than FIVE authors will be invited to submit their full manuscript. These authors will be provided with optional feedback. From this shortlist the winning three entries will be chosen, with prize money of £500 for first, and £200 for each runner-up. The winning three manuscripts will all be considered for publication and be read by an agent.

Click here for information about eligibility and entries.


31 January 2024
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Hammond House Publishing
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