Sudanese Writer Reem Gaafar Makes 2023 Island Prize Longlist

MARCH 20, 2023 — Organizers have announced the longlist for the 2023 Island Prize for a Debut Novel from Africa.

This literary prize, founded by author Karen Jennings and now in its second year, is open to debut African novelists. The prize’s primary aim, organizers write, is “helping African writers break into the UK publishing scene.” Shortlisted writers are promised a reading by publishers and agents in the UK, US, and South Africa, in addition to a £500 prize for the winner and £200 for two runners-up.

This year’s longlist:

  • ‘Bobo Hamham’ by Aganaba, Jesudubami Jemima (Nigeria)
  • ‘The Becoming-Nothing of Bodies’ by Olubunmi Familoni (Nigeria)
  • ‘A Mouth Full of Salt’ by Reem Gaafar (Sudan)
  • ‘No Poison, No Paradise’ by Nzeru Aquilar Nsaí (South Africa)
  • ‘Braids and Migraines’ by Andile MaShandu Cele (South Africa)
  • ‘Choosing an Outfit for the End of the World’ by Robyn Perros (South Africa)
  • ‘Carrying a Country on Your Forehead’ by Tanaka Chidora (Zimbabwe)
  • ‘Night’s Last Secrets’ by Felix Otis (Kenya)
  • ‘Captured’ by Immaculate Halla (Tanzania)

Organizers write:

The quality of this year’s submissions were incredibly strong, flooding in from across the entire
continent. We received many submissions from Kenya, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, and South Africa,
with further contributions from Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Sudan, Mauritius,
Zambia, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Ghana.

The longlisted entries will now be read in full and considered for the prize’s shortlist by judges Karen
Jennings (author and founder of The Island Prize), Rachel Edwards (author), and Hamza Koudri
(runner up for The Island Prize 2022).