I've just seen Guardian Prize winning author Petina Gappah's blog post notifying that the call for entries has gone out for the 2011 PEN Studzinski Award for short fiction. The award, originally for writers from the 15 SADC countries, was opened to all of Africa for the 2009 edition, eventually won by Karen Jayes.
As Gappah attests, the 2007 award started her on the road to something significant. Her second placed story, selected by J.M. Coetzee (At The Sound of the Last Post) opens her highly successful debut collection, An Elegy For Easterly, having been previously published in Prospect. The 2007 winning story by Henrietta Rose-Innes (Poison) went on to scoop the Caine Prize in 2008. So there is no denying the power of this award.
Oddly enough and in a major about-turn, the SA PEN Studzinski Award reverts to "appealing only to writers living in the fifteen countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC*)." No more All-Africa inclusivity then. Just one All-Africa trial convinced them to narrow it back down to SADC only, it appears.
As I wrote in the comment box for Gappah's blog, "I wish the Studzinski Award would make its bloody mind up."
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