There are some important deadlines for contests coming up for writers in Botswana, Africa and the Commonwealth.
1. Penguin Prize for Africa Writing
If you haven't entered this one yet, you better get cracking as the deadline is 30th January, 2010. The prize is for book length manuscripts; either fiction or nonfiction, from citizens of African countries. Fiction rules are here and nonfiction here. The prize in each category is R50,000 (USD 5000) and a publishing contract. The shortlist will be announced in April 2010.
2. Commonwealth Short Story Competition
This annual flash fiction competition has changed slightly this year. The deadline has moved up to 31 March, 2010. They offer prize money for the twenty or so highly commended stories, the regional winners and a 2000 (British pound) prize for the overall winner. This year there will be two additional prizes: one for the best children's story and one for a story around the theme of "Science, Technology and the Community". It is a free contest open to citizens of any Commonwealth country. All winning stories are recorded on CD and sent to all radio stations in the Commonwealth to play the stories on air.
3. Bessie Head Literature Awards
This has become an annual writing award in Botswana for citizen and resident writers. This year the categories are: novel, short story, and children's story. The word count limits for short story and children's story are outrageous (10,000 words) but don't let that scare you off-keep in mind that is the maximum word count. A story of 1000 words is still acceptable. The prize money is for first position only: novel -P2500 and short story and children's story-P1250. The rules are a bit complicated and require things such as certified copies of IDs etc. so please read them carefully. The deadline for submissions (which must be posted only) is 20th March 2010.
4. The Baobab Prize
The Baobab Prize is an American based literature prize for citizen writers of any African country. Its goal is to promote African writing for children. There are two categories: junior for children ages 8-11 and senior for children ages 12-15. There is also a prize for writers below the age of 18 called the Rising Writer's Prize. Prize money is $1000 (USD) for the main categories and $800 (USD) for the Rising Writer's Prize. Entrants can send up to five stories. The deadline for submissions is 26th April 2010.
So folks- let's get writing. Contests open up doors and get your name out there. Remember the worst that can happen is you don't win and that will push you to try harder next year.
So Good Luck Everyone!!!