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Penguin Prize for African Writing: Fiction and Non-fiction

Penguin Books is pleased to announce today a new literary award for writers from the African continent. The Penguin Prize for African Writing has two categories: one each for a previously unpublished full-length work of adult fiction and non-fiction. The prize in each category will be R50 000 and a publishing contract with Penguin Books South Africa, with worldwide distribution via Penguin Group companies. Penguin South Africa’s CEO Alison Lowry commented, “Although this prize does not exclude established authors, we believe that there are new writers from Africa for whom Penguin can provide a platform, and in so doing we hope to reflect and showcase the diversity of voices on our continent both at home and abroad.”  Books to be considered for the non-fiction award will be serious narratives that examine and explore African issues and experiences for both local and international audiences in an engaging, thought provoking and enlightening way. For the fiction prize the judges will be looking for novels of freshness and originality that represent the finest examples of contemporary fiction out of Africa. Penguin’s Chairman and Chief Executive, John Makinson said, “As we approach the end of our second decade of publishing in South Africa, it is exciting to be able to look ahead to the next phase of the company’s development. The Penguin Prize for African Writing will give us opportunities to reach new readers across Africa and bring talented and important writers to the attention of book lovers around the world.” Submissions for both categories are now open, and close on the 30th of January 2010. The shortlist will be announced in April 2010 and the final prizes will be awarded in September 2010 Rules for the fiction prize 

Overview: The Penguin Prize for African Writing will be awarded to writers of a previously unpublished, full- length adult work in two categories: Fiction and Non-fiction. The winner in each category will be awarded a prize of R50 000 (approximately US$5 000) as well as a publishing contract with Penguin Books (South Africa) that will include worldwide distribution via Penguin Group companies. Through this award Penguin aims to highlight the diverse writing talent on the African continent and make new African fiction and non-fiction available to a wider readership.

Judging: After all submissions have been received, a shortlist for each prize will be announced. Two panels of judges will be selected and invited to adjudicate the shortlists in the two categories. The judges will adjudicate electronic copies of the submissions. 

Timeline: The shortlists will be announced in April 2010 and the prize in each of the two categories will be awarded in September 2010. The closing date for submissions is 30 January 2010. 
R50 000 Penguin Prize for African Writing Fiction Criteria
• Novels of freshness and originality that represent the finest examples of contemporary fiction out of Africa will be considered; • Submissions must be typed full-length works of fiction (generally between 60 000 and 100 000 words);
• Poetry, plays, and short story collections will not be considered;
• Submissions in the children’s literature, science fiction or fantasy genres will not be considered;
• Submissions should be previously unpublished works and the rights available to Penguin Books (SA) for worldwide publication and distribution;
• Submissions must be original works, from established or new writers;
• Submissions must be in English;
• Translations into English will be accepted, as long as the rights to publish in English around the world are not held by another publisher;
• Entrants must be citizens of an African country, where Africa is defined as continental Africa and the associated islands;
• The competition is not open to Penguin employees, screeners or judges for the prize, nor to members of their families;
• The judging panel will be convened by Penguin Books (SA); • The shortlist of entries will be communicated to the successful entrants;
• The judges’ decision will be final and no correspondence will be entered into;
• Submissions must preferably be emailed to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Hard copy submissions will only be accepted under exceptional circumstances after formal correspondence with the Prize Administrator on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or addressed to The Prize Administrator, Penguin Books, PO Box 9, Parklands 2121, South Africa;
• Entrants may submit only ONE entry; • Entrants must keep copies of their work as manuscripts will not be returned; • Entries must reach Penguin Books (SA) by 30 January 2010. 

Rules for the Non-fiction prize

Overview: The Penguin Prize for African Writing will be awarded to African writers of a previously unpublished, full-length work in two categories: Fiction and Non-fiction. The prize in each category to be R50,000 (approximately US$5,000) and a publishing contract with Penguin SA, with worldwide distribution via Penguin Group companies. Penguin aims to highlight the diversity of writing talent originating from the African continent through this award. 

Judging: Two panels of judges from the African continent will be constituted to adjudicate the shortlist of en- tries in the two categories. Judging will be done based on the reading of electronic copies of the works. 

Timeline: The first prize will be awarded in September 2010, the two shortlists will be announced in April 2010. The submission date for entries for consideration for the prize will be 30 January 2010. 
R50 000 Penguin Prize for African Writing Non-Fiction Criteria
• Serious narrative non-fiction that examines and explores African issues and experiences for both local and international audiences in an engaging, thought provoking and enlightening way;
• Academic works or textbooks will not be considered;
• Directories, reference books, travel guides, map books, cookbooks, how-to books, and photographic books will not be considered;
• Submissions must be typed full-length works of non-fiction (generally between 60 000 and 100 000 words);
• Submissions should be previously unpublished works and the rights available to Penguin Books (SA) for worldwide publication and distribution;
• Submissions must be original works, from established or new writers;
• Submissions must be in English;
• Translations into English will be accepted as long as the rights to publish in English around the world are not held by another publisher;
• Entrants must be citizens of an African country, where Africa is defined as continental Africa and the associated islands;
• Single or multi-author submissions are eligible;
• The competition is not open to Penguin employees, screeners or judges for the prize, nor to members of their families;
• The judging panel will be convened by Penguin Books (SA);
• The shortlist of entries will be communicated to the successful entrants;
• The judges’ decision will be final and no correspondence will be entered into;
• Submissions must preferably be emailed to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Hard copy submissions will only be accepted under exceptional circumstances, after formal correspondence with the Prize Administrator on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or addressed to The Prize Administrator, Penguin Books, PO Box 9, Parklands 2121, South Africa; • Entrants may submit only ONE submission;
• Entrants must keep copies of their work, as manuscripts will not be returned;
• Submissions must reach Penguin Books South Africa by 30 January 2010.

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