My Shadow Jalada Prize Longlist

Short Story MondayTwo weeks ago, I decided to read and judge all the short stories in Jalada’s Afrofuture(s) anthology, my little side project to run in tandem with the official Jalada Prize.  Marvelous collection! I do have some issues (of course).  I will post commentary on the Jalada’s Afrofuture(s) anthology and its stories later today or tomorrow. But I urge y’all to read the anthology.

Regarding my shadow list, I’ve assumed that stories, by judges of the Prize and folks connected with Kwani?, may not be eligible.  So while the following stories are among my selected best in the anthology, I’ve nonetheless excluded them from my longlist:

 (My shadow longlist would have ten stories instead of the seven; going overboard is typical of any list of books or stories that I have to compile!)

So here is my longlist of seven (limiting the list to 7 was not easy at all; I congratulate the Jalada Prize judges for getting through the official first assignment):

  1. “Last Wave” By Ivor Hartmann
  2. “eNGAGEMENT” by Richard Oduor Odoku
  3. “Discovering Time Travel” by Sulieman Agbonkhianmen Buhari
  4. “Onen and his Daughter” by Dilman Dila
  5. “Where pumpkin leaves dwell” by Lillian Akampurira Aujo
  6. “Color Me Grey” by Swabir Silayi
  7. “The Dragon Can’t Dance” by Sheree Renee Thomas

Honourable mentions for:



  1. Blood & Water ~ Elizabeth Muchemwa

    He washes his hands in streams she has made.
    Rivers flowing beneath her eyes have
    Salted the land with the acrid taste of her
    Wells have risen to pool within her,
    catching the cries that would speak her
    He washes his hands in streams she has made.
    She dreams sonic dreams with high decibels to end tyranny,
    With a speak to raise armies and wage wars.
    He washes his hands in streams she has made,
    Ignoring the pleas of a maiden body slain
    In her shame, exposed against her will.
    Half drawn clothes,
    Untidy bundles of blood
    Laid to waste for a rush.
    She has made rivers and lakes bitter with the salt of her tears.
    Beneath her breast a molten hold burnishes the light she once had
    Into a golden strong finish
    For those that have laid her to waste.
    This is for the mother
    Who has stitched another morsel
    into one dish of edible corn for our daily bread.
    Her who has copied the hands of the creator
    And pasted onto the drawing board a new piece to the picture
    So that girls everywhere can smile.
    She is the surgeon who has carried a knife to battles
    To cut open wounds and piece them back to their proper places,
    Them skins and flesh scurrying to obey her command.
    She has done so.
    She has carried life so.
    She has melded pen and paper to tell a story,
    Not worrying.
    Whether the caves within her bring forth life or death
    Life or death life or death,
    The ringing bells toll and call all humankind to rest.
    But she does not stop taking life from death
    life from death life from death,
    Building bricks upon bricks
    stitching together another


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