Iskanchi Press Announces Book Prize Shortlist for 2024

We are overjoyed to reveal the shortlist for the inaugural Iskanchi Book Prize! 

The Iskanchi Book Prize attracted an impressive array of talented writers, and we are thrilled to see such diversity and excellence on this year's shortlist. The 11 shortlisted manuscripts showcase the best of African realities and the continent's vibrant literary talent and align with our mission to promote authentic African perspectives.

The prize seeks to honor outstanding prose and hybrid book manuscripts, offering the winner a publishing opportunity. The grand prize winner will receive $1500 and publication in Fall 2025.

Stay tuned for further updates, and join us in congratulating the shortlisted authors on this remarkable achievement!

Shortlisted Authors:

1. Joyce Odera - Delightful Cage  (Nigeria) 

2. Lauwo George - FINELAND  (Tanzania )

3. Abenea Ndago - Citizens  (Kenyan) 

4. Terna Douglas Abu - The Seeker  (Nigeria) 

5. Alieu Bundu - The Brilliance Of A Million Suns  (Sierra Leone)

6. Onyeka Nwelue- The Perfect Muslims  (Nigeria) 

7. Khisa John - Sunset Over Elgon Hills  (Uganda)

8. Thabi Moeketsi - The Boy With The Indigo Heart  (Zimbabwe) 

9. Olowe Damilola - A Little Wonder To Dream  (Nigeria)

10. Oyinloye Michael Oluwatomisin - Gone  (Nigeria) 

11. Aminta Dupuis - The Child from Dindefello Falls  (Senegal)

Joyce Odera’s debut novel, "Delightful Cage," earned her a joint third prize in the inaugural 2021-22 Island Prize. Her mission as a writer is to foster deep connections with readers through the crafting of authentic and unapologetic characters. She sees storytelling as a profound invitation, allowing readers to step into the shoes of her characters, sharing in their trials, victories, and expanding their worldview.

Before venturing into literary pursuits, Joyce honed her craft as a versatile copywriter and content creator across various industries, including real estate, branding & advertising, legal practice, and journalism as an editor for a local newspaper.

In addition to her passion for creative writing, Joyce is an economist currently pursuing a master’s degree in Behavioral Science at the London School of Economics. She serves with the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel. Though Nigerian by origin, Joyce was born and raised in Cameroon. She finds joy in exploring history, indulging in art, strolling along beaches, savoring fresh fruits, practicing boxing, and engaging in conversations with strangers.

Lauwo G Lauwo is a fiction writer. He has written two novels, FINELAND and NO PLACE I'D RATHER BE, which are ready to be published. He is the author of the short story THE ISALE TREE, published by Vancouver Writers Fest in Canada, following his participation in the My Roots workshop organized by Vancouver Writers' Fest.

The manuscript of his first novel, FINELAND, was chosen for the 2020 BIPOC Writers Connect conference organized by The Writers' Union of Canada and the League of Canadian Poets. In 2018, he was one of the six participants selected for the Writing the Novel mentorship organized by Mawazo Africa Writing Institute. He has also translated two Swahili short stories into English, which are part of an anthology of translated stories to be published by the Commonwealth Writers.

Lauwo is an avid reader and a regular attendee of the annual Surrey International Writers' Conference. He's currently finalizing the draft of his third novel, ENCHANTED VILLAGE. He has a Master's degree in Intercultural Communication from Finland, and his academic background has helped him to bring intercultural insights into his writing. He is originally from Kilimanjaro, and he is currently living and working between Canada and Tanzania.

Abenea Ndago. A Pan-Africanist Kenyan writer/scholar. Voices(2017), Crossing the Border (2018) and Lord Kitchener (2023; shortlisted for the 2022 James Currey Prize for African Literature). Literature-law-ethnic violence. Currently writing and Associate Editor with and teachesLiterature at Karatina University in Central Kenya.

Thabi Moeketsi is a fifty year old mother of two residing in Zimbabwe. Her fiction has appeared in Writers Space Africa, Agbowo, Literary Yard, Ibua Journal, Eclectica and the Potato Soup Journal Best of 22 Anthology.

Khisa John was born in June 1983, the second last born son of a family of ten children from Trans-Nzoia county, Kiminini constituency, Masaba village. The village is located in the foot of Mt. Elgon, in the western part of Kenya, neighboring Uganda. Five years later, he joined Namawanga primary school, later transferring to Maliki primary school where he completed his Certificate of Primary School Education. He then proceeded to Bungoma High School, where his writing talent began to flourish. His literature teacher served as a significant inspiration, and he excelled in composition, English grammar, and literature, becoming the best student in these subjects. After secondary school, his dreams were put on hold due to the passing of his guardian. He then moved to Nairobi, where he worked as an apprentice at a local garage for a time before securing a job with an NGO as a librarian at their wetlands location. This position reignited his passion for writing, and his future as a writer was solidified. Although the organization eventually relocated to another country, he continues to earn a living as an online writer, blogger, and columnist for a local newsletter.

Terna Abu is a Nigerian self-taught, award winning author. His debut novel, Eagle Drive, won the 2020 Association of Nigerian Authors, ANA, Prose prize. The Seeker is his second novel. His work has appeared on Mystery Tribune, Kalahari Review, Botsotso, Sisi Africa, among others. He resides in Gboko, the cool seat of the Tor Tiv and the Tiv traditional council.

Alieu Bundu is a writer and a singer from Sierra Leone. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in French from Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone. His story, 'Kwerekwere' was published by the online Magazine Lolwe. Also in December 2021, Nipe Story made his Kwerekwere that was nominated for the 2022 Caine Prize for African Writing into a podcast. He was the runner-up for April 2014 Africa Book Club Short Reads Competition, and he was also nominated for the 2016 Writivism Short Story Competition for his short story, Bintiya, now titled Miremba. His independently published novel, Silver Lining, and novella Homegoing are available on Amazon. His EP,  THE SKY is also available online.

Onyeka Nwelue, is a Nigerian scholar, filmmaker, jazz musician, and publisher. With over 25 published books to his name, including the award-winning 'The Strangers of Braamfontein,' Onyeka has established himself as a versatile and acclaimed writer. Nwelue was an Academic Visitor to the University of Oxford and Visiting Scholar in the University of Cambridge. He was a Visiting Research Fellow at Ohio University. He was a Research Associate at the University of Johannesburg.

Damilola Olowe is an African literary writer from Nigeria. She has written numerous stories, free verse poems and about the struggles & triumphs of women in Africa. One of her recent works was published in the brittle papers festive anthology volume. She is also the founder of an African reading Bookclub, “Afrolite_Bookclub” with over three hundred members in the community. 

Damilola Olowe has been an active and passionate volunteer for many organizations over the years. Her interest stirs deeply in soul music, art works, fashion, literature and adventure. Her favorite authors are Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Ukamaka Olisakwe and Lola Akinmade Akerstrom. Buchi Emecheta’s story was an emotional unraveling for her. Her greatest joy would be for her works to inspire other women to dare to dream and aim for the stars.

Oyinloye Michael Oluwatomisin is a 22-year-old creative writer and author from Lagos, Nigeria. He enjoys fictional writing and is passionate about creating alternative worlds within Nigeria. His goal is to tell stories that resonate with the realities of the common Nigerian, making them feel proudly represented. His unique experiences, shaped by his upbringing, exposure to art and culture, and the stories told by those around him, have formed his worldview and provided valuable knowledge for telling authentic stories that truly represent Nigeria and its people.

Aminta Dupuis, is a literature professor, poet, and musician. Inspired by her own experiences of sorrow and outrage in the face of injustice, as well as wonder and admiration for the beauty of the African continent, she gives voice to the Senegalese people in this novel and offers her Western readers a key for greater understanding and compassion toward their African brothers and sisters. Her first book, L'Initiation de Faust et de Parzival, La quête du Graal (2005), compares the initiation journeys of two fabled fictional characters in German literature, Faust and Parzival.