Ugandan writer Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi has won the Kwani? Manuscript Project, a new literary prize for unpublished fiction by African writers. Jennifer, who recently gained her PhD in Creative Writing at Lancaster University, won the prize for The Kintu Saga, the novel she submitted for her PhD, which was supervised by Professor Graham Mort.
The winners were selected from a shortlist of seven by a high-profile panel of judges chaired by award-winning Sudanese novelist Jamal Mahjoub and including Deputy Editor of Granta magazine Ellah Wakatama Allfrey, leading scholar of African literature Professor Simon Gikandi, Chairman of Kenyatta University’s Literature Department Dr. Mbugua wa Mungai, editor of Zimbabwe’s Weaver Press Irene Staunton and internationally renowned Nigerian writer Helon Habila.
The Chair of Judges, Jamal Mahjoub said: “All three titles chosen by the judges display an urge to engage with the complexities of modern day Africa. They tackle issues such as civil war, the struggle against poverty, and the continent’s historical heritage, among other themes. As a manuscript award this prize naturally seeks to focus less on finding a perfect finished product than work which shows literary promise as well as a breadth and depth of vision. The winner and two runners up all reflect these values.”