Short Story Day Africa have announced the winners of this year's competition.
1st Place – “Leatherman” by Diane Awerbuck (South Africa)
2nd Place – “Ape Shit” by Sylvia Schlettwein (Namibia)
3rd Place – “In the Water” by Kerstin Hall (South Africa)
Honourable Mention – “The Corpse” by Sese Yane (Kenya)
This year's competition, Terra Incognita, encouraged wild imagination and new frontiers. Writers were urged to delve into the genres of speculative fiction: horror, fantasy, dystopian, sci-fi, alternative history and magical realism. The winner was chosen by Samuel Kolawole, who also helped select the shortlists with Richard de Nooy and me (it was a blind judging process, which was a first for me - and a really great experience). All of the stories from the longlist - selected by Tiah Beautement and Rachel Zadok - will be published in the annual SSDA anthology.
"The winning entry is among the most engaging pieces of short fiction I have read this year. A tale of longing and dark adventure, 'Leatherman' draws the reader into its rhythm and mystery through scalpel sharp details and sly wit. A deserving winner.
"'Ape Shit' is riveting, surreal and beautifully crafted.
'In the Water' is a thump to the heart. A great horror story with a satisfying ending.
"Finally, wonderfully stylistic and quirky 'The Corpse' deserves an honourable mention."
I've had an opportunity to read the entire longlist as part of the judging process, and they're absolutely fantastic. Just narrowing down to a shortlist was tough, picking a winner must've been nearly impossible. Congratulations to the four stories above, as they're all terrific.