AFREADA x Africa Writes Competition: ft Alain Mabanckou

It’s that time of the year again! This summer, the Royal African Society (RAS) will be back at the British Library to host the beloved literary festival, Africa Writes.

If that wasn’t enough to get you excited, this year they’ve announced that the acclaimed Francophone-Congolese writer, Alain Mabanckou, will be joining the stellar line-up and dropping some gems on Sunday, 2nd July.


In a bid to expand the scope of this headline event, we have joined forces with Africa Writes to run a global competition. We are inviting writers, anywhere and everywhere, to participate in a 500-word short story competition which is loosely based on Mabanckou’s amusing and heart-warming story, Tomorrow I’ll be Twenty.

Told from the perspective of 10-year-old Michel living in Pointe Noire, Congo, the story begins:

In this country, a boss should always be bald and have a big belly. My uncle isn’t bald, he hasn’t got a big belly, and you don’t realise, the first time you see him, that he’s the actual boss of a big office in the centre of town…

The rules are simple: …open a Word Document and continue the story.

We want you to pick up from where Mabanckou left off, but you are not bound by the circumstances of this particular story. Go wherever the spirit leads but be mindful of our one and only rule: the story must be told from the perspective of a child living somewhere in Africa.

Whether you write in the voice of a 12 y/o girl in Eritrea, or a 7 y/o boy in Angola, we are offering a £100 cash prize to the winning story, which will be published in AFREADA, and announced at the opening night of the festival. So if you think you’ve got what it takes, read the guidelines below and get to work!

Entry Guidelines:

  • All entries MUST start with the opening lines of Tomorrow I’ll be Twenty, by Alain Mabanckou.
  • The story must be told from the perspective of a child living somewhere in Africa.
  • All entries must be no more than 500 words (including the excerpt)
  • All entries must be emailed to as Microsoft Word attachments.
  • Please put “AFREADA x Africa Writes Competition – Your Full Name” in the subject line.
  • In the body of the email, please include your contact details, social media handles and a short bio (100 words max).
  • Deadline: Sunday, 18th June. 23:59 BST.

Any questions let us know in the comments!

Photo cred: @inspirit_pages via Insta
A special thanks to Alain Mabanckou and Serpent’s Tail Publishers.