The prize aims to bridge the gap between local and international publishing for emerging African authors.
By Helena Olori
The Island Prize has extended the submission window for the 2024 edition of the prize from January 1, 2024, to 31 January 2024. The move is to allow for more entries for this year’s call which opened on October 1, 2023.
In a statement made via a post on X, Karavan Press, one of the co-administrators of the prize said, “Previous winners and shortlisted authors are seeing success and progress, and The Island Prize team would like to assist other writers from across Africa in doing the same.”
The annual prize, now in its third year, is an initiative dedicated to recognising and supporting emerging literary talents from Africa, and welcomes unpublished writers from across Africa and the African diaspora to enter a manuscript for a chance to have their story published.
The Island Prize, named after the renowned South African author, Karen Jennings’ Booker-longlisted novel of the same title, is administered by Jennings and her publishers – Holland House in the UK and Karavan Press in South Africa. It awards cash rewards of £500, £300, and £200 to the winner and two runners-up respectively, and their authors are introduced to an agent with the prospect of their manuscripts being published.
Longlisted authors also get the opportunity to receive comprehensive feedback on their submissions, with their entire manuscripts reviewed by industry professionals.
Interested applicants must be citizens of an African country or officially be recognised as permanent residents. Entrants must not have literary representation or existing publishing contracts, and submitted works, irrespective of genre, must be between 35,000 and 100,000 words.
While authors of previous novel publications are not allowed, exceptions are made for non-fiction, short stories, and poetry. Interested writers can submit the opening three chapters or 10,000 words of their completed novel, along with a short synopsis, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submissions will close at midnight on January 31, 2024. Authors of selected manuscripts will be contacted by 1 February 2024, and the winner will be announced in the first week of June 2024.