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The 2022 Safal-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature Announced

Nairobi, Kenya, 9th May 20222… The Safal-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature has today announced the call for submissions of manuscripts for its 7th edition. The prize, formerly knowns as The Mabati-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for Africa Literature recently rebranded its name to reflect the parent organization and main sponsor, the Safal Group Limited, which is the largest supplier of building solutions in Africa with 36 operations in 8 countries.

The prize, founded in 2014 by Dr. Lizzy Attree (Short Story Day Africa) 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.

“Our objective is to promote the Kiswahili language through our education pillar in supporting African literature, we hope to receive a lot more submissions from Kenyan writers for the 7th edition, as we aim to nurture future writers to excel in this field,” said Mr. Anders Lindgren, CEO SAFAL Group.

Over the last six years, the Mabati-Cornel Kiswahili Prize, now Safal-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature has supported Kiswahili authors whose manuscripts have been published with others in the pipeline of getting published. In 2021, for its 6th edition, 256 manuscripts were submitted with 80 Kenyan writers participating in the Kiswahili Awards competition.

The Safal-Cornel Kiswahili Prize emulates Mabati Rolling Mills (MRM’s) strong support for education and its impact in supporting African literature. In January this year, the winners of the 2021 Awards were unveiled at a special ceremony in Dar es salaam where HE. Kassim Majaliwa, Prime Minister of the United Republic of Tanzania was the guest of honor.

This year, the overall prize will be awarded to unpublished manuscripts across the categories of fiction, poetry, memoir, and graphic novels. As from 2022, previously published books will not be considered. The total proposed awards of 15,000 US dollars will be divided as follows: The top Fiction/Non-Fiction Prize will scoop a total reward of 5,000 US dollars. The top Poetry Prize will also be rewarded a similar amount of 5,000 US dollars. The two Runner-up Prizes will both be rewarded with 2,500 US dollars in any of the genres written.

The winning entries will be considered for publication in Kiswahili by Mkuki na Nyota Publishers (Tanzania), who will then work with other regional publishers and book distributors to ensure maximum reach for the winning books. The winning poetry will be translated to English and published by the Africa Poetry Book Fund. An award ceremony will be held in Tanzania with all the shortlisted writers in attendance.

Submission Guidelines:

Please send unpublished manuscripts (fiction, poetry, collections of short stories, and memoir, or graphic novels) to, Submissions close on June 30, 2022. For more information, please visit our Kiswahili and English bilingual website.

Notes to Editors

The Safal-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature is supported by Mabati Rolling Mills (MRM) in Kenya & ALAF in Tanzania (both members of the SAFAL Group), the Office of the Vice Provost of International Affairs at Cornell University, the Africana Studies Center at Cornell University and the Ngugi wa Thiong’o Foundation.

Mabati Rolling Mills Limited (MRM), is a member of Safal Group of Companies and Africa’s pioneer manufacturer of coated steel using some of the most advanced technologies available worldwide.

In Kenya, MRM is the leading manufacturer of building solutions and takes pride in offering top-of the range industry leading building solutions. Their range of products cater for the residential, commercial and industrial sectors.  With a great legacy and a history spanning 60 years, MRM’s continued focus on the customer, provision of total building solutions and development of innovative products has resulted in their market leadership in Kenya.

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.” They have successfully published 2017 poetry winner Dotto Rangimoto’s Mwanangu Rudi Nyumbani (December 2018) and Ali Hilal Ali’s novel Mmeza Fupa (January 2019).