The Mabati Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature

Short List Announcement

The short list for Mabati Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature was announced today December 4, 2017 by the board chair, Abdilatif Abdalla. The prize, founded in 2014 by Dr. Lizzy Attree (Caine Prize Director) 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. The shortlisted works and authors are:

  1. Mbaruku A. Mohammed – Hali Halisi (poetry)
  2. Ally Hilal – Mmeza mfupa (fiction)
  3. Hassan Omar Mambosasa – Nsungi (fiction)
  4. Mwalimu Mbatiah – Kibweta cha Almasi(fiction)
  5. Richard Atuti Nyabuya – Umalenga wa Nyanda za Juu (poetry)
  6. Dotto Rangimoto – Mwanangu Rudi Nyumbani (poetry)

Selected from 30 entries the manuscripts were read by 3 judges: Ken Walibora Waliaula, the Judge Chair, scholar and writer, Daulat Abdalla Said, scholar and writer at the State University of Zanzibar, and Ali Attas, Kiswahili and English teacher at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan.

The 15,000 dollar prize is awarded to the best unpublished manuscripts, or books published within two years of the award year, across the categories of fiction, poetry and memoir, and graphic novels. The winning entries are published in Kiswahili by East African Educational Publishers (EAEP) and Mkuki na Nyota Publishers. And the best poetry book published in English translation by the Africa Poetry Book Fund. The award ceremony will be held in Nairobi, in January of 2018.  For more information about the prize, please visit: http://kiswahiliprize.cornell.edu/ 

Notes to Editors

The Prize is primarily supported by Mabati Rolling Mills of Kenya (a subsidiary of the Safal Group), The Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs at Cornell University and the Africana Studies Center at Cornell University.

Mabati Rolling Mills is part of the Safal Group, the largest producer of steel roof sheeting on the continent, with operations in 11 countries in Eastern and Southern Africa.

http://www.mabati.com/ www.safalgroup.com

The Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs at Cornell University provides leadership on and helps oversee internationalization efforts at Cornell. Its goal is to work with schools, colleges, and centers to develop, support and implement plans pertaining to the university’s international dimension. The Office will provide support for the new Internationalization Council, chaired by the vice provost.


The Africana Studies and Research Center enriches the academic, cultural, and social environments on the Cornell University Ithaca campus. Website: http://www.asrc.cornell.edu

East African Educational Publishers is one of Africa’s leading publishers. EAEP strives to juggle the seemingly contradicting values of publishing works of enduring value cutting across the social, cultural, political and economic spectrum of society and at the same time excelling as a viable business that is ready to face the realities and vagaries of the technology age.  They successfully published 2015 winners Anna Samwel’s and Enock Maregesi’s novels Penzi la Damu and Kolonia Santita in 2016. Website:  http://www.eastafricanpublishers.com 

Mkuki na Nyota Publishers is an independent, vibrant Tanzanian imprint publishing relevant, progressive, liberating, affordable and entertaining content. Established in 1991, Mkuki na Nyota Publishers emerged in response to the general absence of high quality, independent publishing in Tanzania. Its mission statement is to publish, “Relevant Books, Affordable Books, and Beautiful Books.” http://www.mkukinanyota.com

The Africa Poetry Fund promotes and advances the development and publication of the poetic arts through its book series, contests, workshops, and seminars and through its collaborations with publishers, festivals, booking agents, colleges, universities, conferences and all other entities that share an interest in the poetic arts of Africa. Website: http://africanpoetrybf.unl.edu/

Board of Trustees: Abdilatif Abdalla (Chair), Mukoma wa Ngugi, Lizzy Attree, Happiness Bulugu, Walter Bgoya, Henry Chakava, Chege Githiora, Carole Boyce Davies, Rajeev Shah, and Ngugi Wa Thiong’o.

Judges – 2017

Ali Attas is the author of literary and scholarly books used throughout the East African educational system that include critical work, dictionaries and plays. He is a former Kiswahili editor at Oxford University Press, Nairobi, and a former producer for BBC Swahili. He currently teaches Kiswahili and English at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan.

Daulat Abdalla Said is Assistant Lecturer in the Department of Kiswahili at The State University of Zanzibar. She has a Master of Arts in Kiswahili and a Bachelor of Arts in Education.

Ken Walibora obtained his PhD in Comparative Cultural Studies at The Ohio State University, in the United States. He is a prolific Kiswahili fiction writer and poet with a literary oeuvre exceeding fifty titles and has won several awards.

The website is: http://kiswahiliprize.cornell.edu/

Twitter handle: @KiswahiliPrize

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mabati-Cornell-Kiswahili-Prize-for-African-Literature/1534905843433822

Contact information:

Prof. Mukoma Wa Ngugi, Cornell University, kiswahiliprize@cornell.edu

Dr Lizzy Attree, kiswahiliprize@cornell.edu


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