2019 Kalemba Shortlist

The short-list for the 2019 Kalemba Prize has been announced by the Chair of Judges, writer and Professor of English, Ainehi Edoro.

Edoro described the six short-listed stories as “dramatic, exciting, resonant and evocative,” woven around the subjects of love, resistance, loss and survival.

The winning author will be announced on 17 June, and will receive a $1,000 prize for their piece of short fiction.

The short-list was decided by a panel of judges, who included Kayo Chingoyi, Austin Kaluba, Mulenga Kapwepwe and Ainehi Edoro.

The six final entries are:

The Masks – Lucy Zulu Simuzingili
All To love – Lydia Ngoma
Pain By Any Other Name – Fiske Nyirongo
Inswa – Mubanga Kalimamukwento
Binary – Jumani Clarke
Career Battle – Mirriam Lusambo


Announcing the 2019 Kalemba Short Story Prize Long-list


The following entries have made the long-list, congratulations.
Thank you to all the entrants. The short story form is often underestimated but is one of the most difficult to write. Unlike the long form, it is an emotional experience delivered straight to the vein, they say. In the coming weeks, we will give general feedback on why so many potentially good stories fell short.

1. Watching Trees – Petros Mwanza
2. Munkoyo – Mazuba Kapambwe
3. Vapour Man – James Shimwitwa
4. The Masks – Lucy Zulu Simuzingili
5. Inswa – Mubanga Kalimamukwento
6. Once Upon a loyalty – Ben Sipo Mulilanduba
7. The Chitenge – Wongani Ngulube
8. The Red Skuna – Chikondi Chiti
9. All To love – Lydia Ngoma
10. The Portrait – Olivia Banda
11. A splitting of the Mind – Vanessa Matanda
12. Love is Sad at a Cemetery – Ingrid Nayame
13. The Longest Monday – Natalie Yabalwashi
14. Almost There – Chimwemwe Charity Jere
15. The People That Wear Masks – Mutinta Nanchengwa
16. Kintsugi – Joy Lubinda
17. Manenekela – Kanyanta Sinyangwe
18. The Night of Alexandria – Kondwani Simwaba
19. The City – Kabwe Mwenya
20. Happy Father’s Day – Marjory Moono Simuyuni
21. Neti-The Talking Cocroach Elopes Dijo-The Village Hoodlum – Dominic Mbewe
22. We Need New Relatives- Chanda Chongo
23. Not Again – Sampa Musaba
24. Pain by Any Other Name – Fiske Nyirongo
25. Binary – Jumani Clarke
26. Bioiscope – Jacob M’hango
27. Disconsolate – Natasha Kasoma
28. Dead-End Dead-Lock – Mwanamuke Nawa
29. Career Battle – Mirriam Lusambo
30. Wild for the Valiant – Frank Mubanga
31. Ninety Days – Kateule Chabala
32. Funeral of a God – Milan Sichinga

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Extending submission date by one day following glitch of 15 Dec

There was an unexpected system failure affecting the online submission form on the closing date of the 2019 KSSP.

What we initially took as a minor glitch affecting a couple of entrants was in fact a major one such that not a single entry was accepted on the above date. We have examined the online form, including the values — date, time — entered just in case of an error, but none has been found. We are therefore mystified as to what exactly happened.

Our deepest apologies.

We will continue to pursue excellence for the Prize including giving all potential entrants a fair chance to participate.

As such, we will extend the deadline by 24 hours, from Tuesday 18 Dec 06h00 to Wednesday 19 Dec 06h00.


A funny, colourful & relatable encounter


Brief encounters by Jonas Lumbila is a beautiful, funny and colorful short-story from the 2018 Kalemba top 12.

Any Zambian woman who has ever bought Salaula can relate to this dramatic and funny encounter.  Download Brief Encounters here

Millie, 22, her face was light, while her hands could not match up her facial shade. She had applied way more than enough make up, which in no time would become a pot of mud if those showers kept falling on her. She was clad in a Gucci colored top, for the record it read “Guccci”.

Namakau, 35, was tall and had a good dark shade of skin. She was clad in a black and white dotted jacket, with white pants, and black Nine West heels, her head was dawned with refined Brazilian hair. Namakau an accounts assistant at one the cities leading firms was the epitome of the new age Zambian woman, for now though her eyes were focused on her newfound competition. Download Brief Encounters here


2019 Kalemba Eligibility & entry rules


Please read eligibility and entry rules carefully

Opening date
15 October – 15 December 2018
Note: All entries are through this online form which will be activated on 15 Oct & automatically deactivated on 15 Dec.

About the Prize

  1. The Kalemba Short Story Prize is an annual award for unpublished short fiction administered and funded by Ukusefya WORDS.
  2. The prize is open to Zambian nationals only, including those living outside Zambia.
  3. The judging panel comprise authors, publishers and editors.
  4. The winner will receive USD1000.
  5. The winner will be announced in May 2019 at a ceremony in Lusaka.Eligibility
  6. Entrants must be Zambian citizens (including those resident outside Zambia)Entry rules
  7. Entries must be made by the writer.
  8. Entries are accepted via online form
  9. The deadline for receipt of entries is STRICTLY 15 December 2018.
  10. Only one entry per writer may be submitted for the 2019 KSSP
  11. The story must be the entrant’s own work.
  12. The story must be original and should not have been published anywhere in full or in part before 1 May 2019 including in an anthology, magazine, book, newspaper and online.
  13. Entries previously submitted elsewhere are not eligible.
  14. Entries should be submitted in English. Entries in a Zambian language are only eligible with English translation submitted by the writer.
  15. Entries must be between 2000-5000 words. (Entries exceeding word limit will automatically be disqualified.
  16. Entries should be submitted in a PDF or Word document, preferably PDF, saved under title of the story.
  17. The author’s details should be included on the entry form. They must not be given anywhere on the uploaded document. All entries are judged anonymously.
  18. All entries should be submitted in Arial 11 point font and 1.5 line spacing. No handwritten entries.
  19. The story should be fiction. There are no restrictions on setting, genre or theme.
  20. Entrants agree as a condition of entry that Ukusefya WORDS may publicise a story that has been entered or shortlisted for the Prize.
  21. Copyright of each story remains with the writer. Ukusefya WORDS will have the unrestricted right to publish the winning or any stories including for promotional purposes.
  22. The winner will be expected to take part in publicity activities.
  23. For any queries on entry or eligibility not covered above, please email info@ukusefya.com for clarification before submitting an entry. Frivolous queries, including on what is already covered in eligibility and rules will attract NO response.

You can download the guidelines HERE

A riveting page-turner – God of the mind


One of the top stories from the 2018 Kalemba Prize is God of the Mind. Read it here
Andrew Nguvu weaves a multilayered thriller with effortless wit, imagination, and honesty.
A thought-provoking page-turner, God of the Mind, is at the centre of contemporary Zambian culture and religion.
Nguvu, a larger than life personality, masterfully and fearlessly tackles faith, religion, God, and reason through the lens of a pastor and his family, plagued by a devastating epidemic.

“It was a rainy night in October; at the junction of Chilimbulu road and Mosi-o-tunya road, the stage was set, and the Woodlands Stadium in the densely populated suburb of Woodlands was bursting at the seams with ecstatic crowds that gathered for the themed Zambia Miracle Healing Night,” writes Nguvu.
“Large crowds thronged the stadium as people clamored for the tight space not wanting to miss a touch from God. Amid the euphoria, prophet Sylvester Chishimba, trotted up the stage, raising the dynamic microphone he shouted, ‘Zambia you are blessed!’”

Nguvi, an avid reader, started writing as a teenager. He lists among his writing influences, Mwila Readith Muliyunda (RIP), Niccolo Machiavelli, Jim Collins, Gilbert Banda, Haruki Murakami, Arther Golden, Eric Ries, JK Rowling and Dan Brown. The Prince, by Niccolo Machiavelli, is one of his all-time favourite reads.
The Kabwe based writer is an alumnus of Mulungushi University and a seasoned entrepreneur with an enviable portfolio ranging from wildlife ranching, crocodile conservation, crop farming to livestock rearing, goat and crocodile leather tanning. Others include fish farming, hospitality and accommodation.

Kalemba Prize is proud to be associated with this talented storyteller.

The most lyrical and poetic writer of them all

Chanda Chongo, writer – A broken road in Utopia

A broken road in Utopia is arguably the most lyrical and poetic entry in the 2018 Kalemba Short Story Prize.

It’s one thing to lace a story with a touch of poetry, but a whole different ball game to pen an entire tale in lyrical poetic prose without losing the storyline. 20 year old Chanda Chongo does just that with his beautiful and heart-rending short-story, A broken road in Utopiareadable here.

Chongo weaves a compelling narrative of a young boy whose life turns upside down after the loss of his love; his mother, followed by his idol; his father. Uprooted from his village and confronted with a new life in the city – streets – he relies on his father’s wisdom to survive.

“We did not know much about school in my village; education was a ghost that journeyed beyond our mango-tree fence. Traditional teachings and superstitions were much more relevant to our daily living,” writes Chongo.
“My mother never knew how to spell sadness, she wasn’t illiterate; she carried in her heart a balm full of happiness. Father taught me how to break a dirge into a verse, a chapter, and finally into a book if he’s shadow lost its way back home because life was an unpredictable game in my village and people sometimes simply disappeared never to return,” he writes.

Chongo has been writing from a very young age and credits his late mother as one of his most significant influence on his writings.
“I’ve got so much love for African literature, and I find it hard to have an all-time favorite author, but Chinua Achebe is one legend whose works I’ve come to admire most, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie too, she’s dynamite,” he says.

On the books that have left an indelible mark “Weep Not Child, Ngugi Wa Thiongo’s stunning book, the kind of writing style portrayed in the book is entirely exceptional.”

On being shortlisted for the Kalemba prize, “KSSP isn’t just about the prize package itself, but an opportunity to rocket Zambia’s literary works on the African space and the world” [Thank-you Chongo, we love your winning attitude and looking forward to working with you in the nearest future].

Chongo has an admirable body of works some of which have appeared in a number of anthologies and other platforms including Spill words magazine, Enclave, Youth Shades, Tuneworth and Lunaris Review.

The Livingstone based writer is also a Journalist at radio Mosi-O-Tunya and Alliance for Community Action. He doubles as a peer educator at Young Men Christian Association and the Planned Parenthood Association of Zambia.

Shaking Zambia’s literary scene – Mutinta writes like a master

WRITER 4d.jpg

At 22 years, Mutinta Nanchengwa’s writing is as good as that of any accomplished writer.
Her story the Legacy of Moombe is timeless stuff and is downloadable here

Mutinta weaves a compelling narrative of Africa’s undoing; power and greed. Her story is a rare glimpse into a State machinery under capture by a powerful and ruthless family: the Moombes. So powerful so much so that with a single text message, they can remove a President from power.

“The legacy of theft never really left us. We just found more efficient ways to steal. Every member of the family had a role to play” she writes “We will mark this as a loss, and we continue as if Malindi never existed. His widow will be comfortable, and we shall move on,“ he said harshly. “We will be remembered for our greed.”

Writing has always been a part of Nanchengwa who grew up and went to school in Harare, Zimbabwe.

“The earliest influence on my writing was J.K Rowling with the Harry Potter series, she will always be one of my all-time favorite authors,” she says. “However, the two books that made the biggest impact on my life and shaped my writing style are Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman and The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver.”

A student pursuing a degree in Media and Communication Studies at the University of Zambia, Mutinta is a writer and content curator at Vodafone Jump.

This young writer is no ordinary mind, and we at Kalemba Prize have her on our radar.