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Cassava Republic to Launch Global Non-Fiction Manuscript Price for Black Women

Cassava Republic Press announces the imminent launch of its inaugural Black Women’s Non-Fiction Manuscript Prize valued at $30,000. Open to emerging and established Black women (cis, trans and genderqueer) writers globally, and seeking the best in unpublished non-fiction manuscripts, the prize will debut on 26 October 2023.

Cassava Republic’s Black Women’s Non-Fiction Manuscript Prize represents a first in the world of Black women’s letters, not only by virtue of its global scope, but also its non-fiction focus and its generous $30,000 prize. Their mission, "is to reward and publish emerging and established Black women writers and thinkers from across Africa and the Afro-diaspora focusing on critical ideas across time and space." An eminent panel of judges, comprised of accomplished Black women writers and scholars from across Africa and its diasporas, will be announced in due course.

The winner of the manuscript prize will not only secure a publishing deal with Cassava Republic Press, but will also receive a $20,000 advance. Acknowledging the strengths of the top shortlisted writers, two runners-up will each receive a $5000 advance, and a publishing deal.

Funded by Alitheia Capital and Open Society Foundation Africa, the Prize is part of Cassava Republic's commitment to building on the long tradition of Black women writers as knowledge-makers and critical thinkers writing for broad audiences. the press noted, "while non-fiction books contribute significantly to the literary landscape, the space remains predominantly white and male-dominated, with non-fiction from marginalised voices usually relegated to memoir, and autofiction."

Cassava Republic’s Black Women’s Non-Fiction Manuscript Prize therefore seeks to "reimagine which forms of knowledge are considered 'authoritative' by championing writing that collapses the boundary between 'creativity' and 'scholarship,' that is as rigorous as it is beautiful, as critical as it is playful. Through the prize, Cassava Republic seeks to amplify and unearth the critical ideas that might otherwise remain unpublished or confined to academic circles or niche audiences."

Having sold over six million books in sixty countries and in thirty languages, and launched the careers of major contemporary African authors such as Teju Cole, Sarah Ladipo-Manyika and Elnathan John, Cassava Republic has transformed the African literary landscape over the last seventeen years. Cassava Republic is now building on this commercial and critical success in African letters, to transform the global Black literary landscape through landmark global initiatives such as the Black Women’s Non-Fiction Manuscript Prize.

Publishing Director, Bibi Bakare-Yusuf said “We take immense pride in launching the Black Women’s Non-Fiction Manuscript Prize as we take steps to address a long-overlooked gap in the literary world. The prize builds on the long tradition of Black women writers as theorists and intellectual, and provide a platform for a range of writers from Africa and the Afro-diaspora to follow in the footsteps of luminaries such as Anna Julia Cooper, Amy Jacques Garvey, Claudia Jones, Noni Jabavu, Audre Lorde, May Ayim, Ellen Khuzwayos, bell hooks and Toni Morrison who have come before. This prize is part of Cassava Republic’s vision becoming a global Black publishing house, publishing books by Afro-descendent writers from across the world.”

Interested writers can visit the Cassava Republic website for further information and submission guidelines.



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