Gerald Kraak Anthology and Prize shortlist announced, honouring African writing that provokes thought on the topics of gender, social justice and sexuality

The Jacana Literary Foundation, in partnership with the Other Foundation, has announced the judges’ selection for the third Gerald Kraak Anthology.

Created in honour of the late activist Gerald Kraak’s extraordinary legacy of supporting human rights, this prize advances his contribution to building a world that is safe and welcoming to all.

This unique prize calls for multi-layered, brave and stirring African voices that represent a new wave of fresh storytelling, one that provokes thought on the topics of gender, social justice and sexuality.

Last year’s anthology, As You Like It, was recently selected as a finalist in the prestigious Lambda Literary Awards, in the LGBTQ Anthology category.

This year’s anthology is titled The Heart of the Matter.

The JLF says: ‘After reviewing close to 500 entries from across the African continent, this whittled-down selection encompasses the themes of gender, social justice and sexuality. The truths of Africa are excellently narrated by these authors.’

The Heart of the Matter will be published by Jacana Media in May 2019.

Commendations in each category and the Gerald Kraak Prize winner, who receives a cash prize, will be announced at an award ceremony in May 2019, hosted by the Other Foundation.

Gerald Kraak Anthology and Prize shortlist


  • ‘Obiageli’, by Prosper O Anuforo (Nigeria), which explores the humiliation of a fisherman and the anger, grit and pride of his wife.
  • ‘The First of Their Kind’, by Lillian Akampurira Aujo (Uganda), is feminist sci-fi; inventive dystopian fiction that examines corruption, abuse of power and elitism in a post-men world.
  • ‘The Shape of Abnormal Things’, by Nonso Anyanwu (Nigeria), who writes of a love struck couple of teenagers and their brief romance.
  • ‘Last Night in Asaba’, by Chiké Frankie Edozien (Nigeria), cements the writer’s status as a sensitive writer of fiction.
  • ‘A Sickness Called Longing’, by Chukwuebuka Ibeh (Nigeria), is a haunting and subtle story about loneliness, vulnerability, masculinity and ageing.
  • ‘Limbo’, by Innocent Chizaram Ilo (Nigeria), is a delightful and inventive story about a lesbian scarecrow.
  • ‘The Impossibility of Home’, by Idza Luhumyo (Kenya). Nairobi comes to life as a city of shattered dreams and enduring hopes. It is a searing exploration of disability and desire. You will fall in love with its one-legged protagonist.
  • ‘The Passover’, by Caleb Okereke (Nigeria), is an audacious tale of migration, longing, exploitation and nihilism. It combines elements of speculative fiction and realism in a way that defies categorisation.
  • ‘The Masked Dance’, by Nigel Mpemba Patel (Malawi), tells of a gender fluid initiate in a triumphant coming of age tale.
  • ‘Semen in the Sun’, by Jarred Thompson (South Africa), is a coming-of-age tale about university students in Johannesburg navigating manhood and finding love in the city.


  • ‘Mothers and Men’, by OluTimehin Adegbeye (Nigeria), is a sensitive memoir casting new light on questions of rape, secondary victimisation and motherhood.
  • ‘Monstrous’, by Megan Ross (South Africa), is a compelling and harrowing exploration of post-natal depression and love.
  • ‘This Hell of a Body’, by Eugene Yakubu (Nigeria), is a complex polemic about intersex self-acceptance and love that also manages to burn with righteous outwardly directed rage.


  • ‘Playlist of the Least Loveable’, by JK Anowe (Nigeria), on love, suicide and what it means to belong to a landscape of dysfunction.
  • ‘Father’s Lessons’, by Bamidele Iyanuoluwapo (Nigeria), on fathers who insist their girls shall be as loved as boys.
  • ‘Verdwaal’, by Lynne Kloot (South Africa), on children and violence and those who remain missing in South Africa as it was and as it is now.
  • ‘A List of Things I Don’t Tell My Mother’, by Sarah Lubala (Democratic Republic of Congo/South Africa), on fear, sex and desire, as only Sarah Lubala can write it.
  • ‘On My Coming Out’, by Chisom Okafor (Nigeria), is an affecting and elegantly written poem that speaks to desire, tradition and the enduring power of familial love.
  • ‘City of Salts’, by Chisom Okafor (Nigeria), is a lyrical mediation on longing.
  • ‘Pride’, by Deborah Seddon (South Africa), is a beautiful ode to a father’s proud love.
  • ‘My sex drive is self-reflective’, ‘Butch Bottom’ and ‘Condition’, by Jarred Thompson (South Africa), are a trio of poems about desire.

This year the anthology received very few photographic entries and, as such, none were shortlisted by the judges.

The Gerald Kraak Anthology and Prize continues to accept entries from photographers, as well as all other visual arts practitioners, and encourages all visual artists and documentarians to submit.

Gerald Kraak Prize judges

Sisonke Msimang, author of Always Another Country, a memoir of exile and home, and a writer and storyteller whose work appears regularly in the New York Times, The Guardian, Newsweek and a range of other international publications.

Professor Sylvia Tamale, a leading African feminist who teaches law at Makerere University in Uganda. Her research interests include gender, law and sexuality, women in politics and feminist jurisprudence.

Mark Gevisser, one of South Africa’s leading authors and journalists, has had a plethora of books and articles published. These include Defiant Desire: Gay and Lesbian Lives in South Africa (1994), Portraits of Power: Profiles in a Changing South Africa (1996), Thabo Mbeki: The Dream Deferred, and Lost and Found in Johannesburg: A Memoir (2012).

Otosirieze Obi-Young, writer, editor and literary journalist, is deputy editor of the African literary culture website Brittle Paper. He is an editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective which has published two volumes, We Are Flowers and The Inward Gaze.

This is a project supported by the Other Foundation.

Categories Africa Fiction Non-fiction South Africa

Tags Awards Gerald Kraak Anthology Gerald Kraak Award Gerald Kraak Prize Jacana Literary Foundation Jacana Media News

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