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Thursday, 1 September 2011


Last week Intwasa Arts Festival announced the shortlist for its English Short Story Competition. The list was impressive. The judges were very impressed by the entries and this is what they had to say: The Intwasa Short Story Competition has become a significant event on the literary calendar of Zimbabwe. This year there were 104 entries to the senior Intwasa Short Story Competition– for the first time named the Yvonne Vera Award to honour the late award-winning writer from Bulawayo.

The entries had myriad themes and storylines and came from both well-known writers and from those submitting their first short story. Many were of a very high standard – it was certainly extremely difficult to choose the fifteen short-listed entries. There have been excellent submissions to the short story competition in previous years, with memorable stories from the winners: Thabisani Ndlovu, Bryony Rheam, Chaltone Tshabangu, Novuyo Tshuma and Bongani Ncube, but the distinctive feature this year was the number of entries from Zimbabweans outside the country’s borders, with entries from as far away as Greece and the USA, and many from South Africa. And the rest were from across the whole of Zimbabwe, the competition has certainly spread geographically from entries being mainly for Bulawayo writers.

The judges eventually chose the fifteen short-listed stories shown below. The list includes several writers who have been published before, including Diana Charsley, Ivor Hartmann, Blessing Musariri and Emmanuel Sigauke, as well as last year’s winner Bongani Ncube, but there are also many new names on the list. Several of these look likely to become leading exponents of creative writing in Zimbabwe in the future.
The stories were judged on the quality of the writing and the quality of the story, and the judges were generally impressed in both areas. One area that does need improvement from several writers is the checking of work before submission – writers should try to get someone else to look through their story before submission to ensure the language is correct and that there are no inconsistencies in the storyline.

The shorlisted stories, not in any particular order, are:
1.     Ango Leonard’s Game, by Mercy Dliwayo
2.     A Mouse Amongst Men, by Ivor Hartman
3.     A Moment of Madness, by Thamsanqa Never Ncube
4.     A Mixed Multitude, by Philip Chidavaenzi
5.     One, by Blessing Musariri
6.     Chanting Shadows, by Mbonisi Pilani Ncube
7.     The Sound of Silence, by Lilian Dube
8.     Memories of a past life, by Bongani Ncube
9.     The
Last Place
on Earth, by Kathryn Truscott
10.   Night Riding, by Sarah Norman
11.   Mr Pothole, by Diana Charsley
12.   Poor Signal, by Emmanuel Sigauke
13.    Ndebele is the new colored, by Tswarelo Mothobe
14.   Times Change, People Change, by Tanya Hunt
     15  Radio Culture is dead, by Elizabet

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