The 2018 Windham Campbell winner Ugandan Novelist Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi is among the Commonwealth Story Prize judges for the 2019 competition. Makumbi is among the six panel judge team that will read over 5000 manuscripts submitted by participants from the six regions of the Commonwealth.
Born and raised in Uganda, Makumbi’s overtures in creative writing were rewarded by the 2013 ‘Kwani? Manuscript Project’ win and subsequent publication of her first novel ‘Kintu’. A multi-generational epic- ‘Kintu’ can be described as a Ugandan story in the league of Chinua Achebe’s ‘Things Fall Apart’. The book would also go ahead and win her the Prestigious Windham Campbell Prize in Literature in 2018. The rich storytelling skills displayed in this inaugural novel by Makumbi has earned the author a steady rise to international fame with some comparing her works to great literary giants in Africa.
Apart from Kintu, the Lancaster University PhD holder is also the regional and overall winner of the Commonwealth Short Story prize 2014 for her story Let’s Tell this Story Properly. Her efforts in writing both the novel and short story has seen her bear fruits in a collection of short stories to be published in 2019 under the title ‘Manchester Happened’ by London based Oneworld publishers and in the USA by Transit under the title; Let’s Tell this Story Properly.
Makumbi’s love for literature could be seen in her career choice. Currently residing in Manchester UK with her family, Makumbi teaches creative writing at Manchester Metroplitan University. Taking time to build her body of work, Makumbi’s works are deeply engrossing with well thought out plot that richly invigorates those who come across her art. As a writer, she has set about creating a new perspective as revealed in ‘Kintu’- a book that was first rejected by British writers for being different from what at the time was perceived as an African narrative.
The commonwealth Short story prize closed its submission phase on November first. The competition, which targets writers from commonwealth countries, began in 2011. Six winners are chosen from the thousands of submissions received every year to represent the six regions of the commonwealth. Out of the six, one will be chosen as the overall winner. According to the Commonwealth, the regional winners are bag with £3,000 while the overall winner walks away with £5,000. Submissions for the short story Prize open in September and run through November first.
Other judges drawn from the five remaining regions are: Pakistani writer and Journalist Mohamed Hanif (Asia); British short story writer Chris Power (Canada and Europe); Barbados’s Karen Lord, (Caribbean) and New Zealander poet, playwright, fiction writer and musician Courtney Sina Meredith (Pacific). The judging panel is chaired novelist Caryl Philips.
Last year’s judge from Africa was South African Novelist Damon Galgut and the Regional winner from Africa was Efure Traore from Nigeria.
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