AFREADA x Africa Writes Competition: ft Chigozie Obioma

The UK’s biggest African literature festival is just around the corner and that can only mean one thing…

We’re back with the third AFREADA x Africa Writes Competition!

As always, this year’s exciting programme will showcase the very best writers and writing from the continent and the diaspora, including none other than Man Booker shortlisted author of The FishermenChigozie Obioma, who will be in conversation on Sunday 7th July at the British Library.

Chigozie will be discussing his latest novel, An Orchestra of Minorities; a story about a young man who sacrifices everything to win the woman he loves. Now the woman he loves certainly loves him back, but one issue stands in the way:

‘Have you considered that my daughter here is a soon-to-be pharmacist?’

‘Yes, sir.’

‘Have you considered that she is now completing her bachelor’s in pharmacy and will proceed to do her MPhil in the UK?’

‘Yes, sir.’

‘Have you considered, young man, what kind of future you, an unschooled farmer, will have with her?’

This dialogue is a perfect snapshot of one of the central themes in this book. Chinonso and Ndali fall in love but she is from an educated and wealthy family – and he is not. We are inviting writers, anywhere and everywhere, to grab hold of this conversation and use it to explore the perceived importance of social class across Africa and beyond.

We only have two rules – the story must include this dialogue in its entirety, and the word limit is 500 words (including the dialogue).

Your unschooled farmer doesn’t have to be called Chinonso, just like the father in this conversation doesn’t have to be a wealthy Igbo Chief. You decide where your story is set. You decide whether the father’s questions are rhetorical or sincere. You decide what comes before and after this conversation. But whatever you decide, you only have six weeks to turn your thoughts into a prize-winning submission – the deadline is Friday, 31 May. 23:59 BST.

Now when it comes to selecting the winner, this year we’re doing it a little differently. We’ve decided to introduce a ‘readers choice’ element so, after working our way through your submissions, we’ll spend a week in June publishing our favourite entries on AFREADA. We’ll then hand it over to our beloved community to select the final three stories and the overall winner will be announced on the morning of Chigozie’s headline event and will receive £100. The two finalists will each receive £50.

We would love to read as many stories as possible so if you think you’ve got what it takes (or even if you’re riddled with fear and self-doubt), we want to encourage you to re-read the dialogue as many times as it takes to paint vivid pictures in your head. Read it until the words become audible, and then submit the resulting story using the link below!


Questions? Let us know in the comments section. Otherwise, good luck and we look forward to reading your entry!

Read all the final stories here, and you will be able to vote for your favourite from Friday, 14th June.