The Brittle Paper Awards, which began in 2017, aim to recognize the finest original pieces of writing by Africans published online, with a $1,100 prize. The shortlists for the awards were announced in October with picks that include “works that inspired readers to rethink their assumptions about African writing,” and which have kindled important conversations and debates. Now, the finalists for the Creative Nonfiction category have been announced for the awards which feature writers making their mark in the literary world.
South African poet, writer and drama facilitator, Sibongile Fisher was among the nominees for “The Miseducation of Gratitude,” in Selves: An Afro Anthology of Creative Nonfiction, published online in Enkare Review. Her short story, “A Door Ajar,” won the 2016 Short Story Day Africa Prize and was shortlisted for the 2017 Brittle Paper Award for Fiction and the 2018 Nommo Award for Best Short Story. She is currently working on her debut collection of short stories. Nigerian writer Sarah Ladipo Manyika’s “On Meeting Toni Morrison,” in Transition also features on the list. Sarah Ladipo Manyika is also an academic, and overall lover of stories. Her best-selling debut novel, In Dependence, was a required reading in a number of high schools and universities around the world.
Linguist Kọ́lá Túbọ̀sún captured audiences online with “A House for Mr Soyinka,” published in Popula. Kọ́lá Túbọ̀sún is also a writer and scholar, born in Ìbàdàn, and educated in Nigeria and the United States. Túbọ̀sún writes in English and Yorùbá, and his works have been translated into Korean. In 2016, he was the first African recipient of the Ostana Premio Scritture in Lingua Madre (Ostana Special Prize for Writings in the Mother Tongue), given annually to those with a significant history of work in indigenous language advocacy and the revitalisation of threatened or endangered languages. Kenyan author Binyavanga Wainaina also made it to the finalists for “Chapter Thirty-Three,” in Brittle Paper. Binyavanga Wainaina is the author of the memoir One Day I Will Write About This Place, which was picked for Oprah’s Book Club. He is the recipient of numerous honours and fellowships, including the Caine Prize, and from Lannan Foundation, Africa’s Out!, and DAAD. In 2014, he was included in TIME’s list of the “100 Most Influential People in the World.”
Nigerian critic Oris Aigbokhaevbolo has his “How to Gossip About African Writing in Geneva,” published in Catapult also contending for the prize. Aigbokhaevbolo‘s literary memoirs, reportage, and culture criticism have appeared in Chimurenga, The Africa Report, Brittle Paper, and The Guardian UK. For his work as a film critic, in 2014, he became the first writer invited for the film critic academies in Germany, South Africa, and the Netherlands in a single year. In 2016, he was the winter writer-in-residence at the island of Sylt in Germany. In 2015, he won the All Africa Music Award (AFRIMA) for Journalism, and in 2018, he won the Felabration Media Award.
“Home Means Nothing to Me,” was written by Tinashe Mushakavanhu, a Zimbabwean cultural and intellectual scholar, in collaboration with Nontsikelelo Mutiti and Simba Mafundikwa. Published in Chimurenga, the article also features on the list. Nontsikelelo Mutiti is a Zimbabwean-born interdisciplinary artist and educator who holds an MFA from the Yale School of Art, with a concentration in graphic design, while Simba Mafundikwa was born in New York City and raised in Harare, Zimbabwe. He studied architecture and graduated cum laude from the State University of New York at Delhi.
The award is split across five categories: the Brittle Paper Award for Fiction ($200), the Brittle Paper Award for Poetry ($200), the Brittle Paper Award for Creative Nonfiction ($200), the Brittle Paper Award for Essays & Think Pieces ($200), and the Brittle Paper Anniversary Award ($300). ′