Golden Baobab

Join us here for news and stories about what is happening with the organization. Enjoy!

Here are the seven longlisted writers for this year's Golden Boabab Prize for Picture Books:

b2ap3_thumbnail_Katherine-Graham_20140915-145150_1.jpgKatherine Graham - A wordsmith by profession, Katherine fills her days writing articles for magazines and looking after her two boys, husband and ginger cat. She started her career as an economics reporter for the South African Broadcasting Corporation and, after a gap year in the UK and a brief interlude as a primary school teacher, has remained in the world of media ever since.

Katherine says, "I am delighted to be selected as one of the finalists for this prestigious competition. It's such a wonderful idea to be focusing more attention on African children's literature. African children need stories that reflect their unique circumstances and celebrate the wealth of beauty on this continent."

The Lemon Tree: A rainy day is the perfect time to make pancakes, or so Gogo thinks, although would you believe there is no flour, eggs or milk left in the house? Lungi and Sipho are sent off to find the missing ingredients, making sure they take some lemons from their tree to distribute to their kind neighbours. A gentle tale with a slight twist at the end which perfectly illustrates the uniquely African concept of ubuntu

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_Mike_20140915-145334_1.jpgMyke Mwale is a Zimbabwean and member of the Dominican Order, just finished his studies and currently teaching in Kroonstad, South Africa. He is also a contributor to the Weekend Witness, a newspaper based in South Africa.

Myke remarks, “Great stuff! I am flattered to be longlisted amongst the story listeners and tellers of our children’s imagination and reality”.

The Big Ball: It all started one afternoon when Chiedza asked to join in and play soccer with the boys. Girls do not play soccer with boys. However, Chiedza persists and soon she can kick the plastic paper ball just like the boys. A few days later, Tendai’s father buys him a real big ball. Everybody is excited to play soccer with Tendai’s ball. Will Chiedza play this new big ball? Only Tendai, the owner of the ball, can decide this.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Mandy_20140915-145429_1.jpgMandy Collins is an award-winning South African journalist who has always had a passion for language, and in particular, the multilingual environment of South Africa. Mandy is involved in many aspects of writing. She also provides individualized writing coaching for children and adults. Mandy lives in Johannesburg, South Africa with her family and two slightly demented dogs.

According to Mandy, “I am absolutely thrilled to be longlisted again for a Golden Baobab Prize. I had such fun writing and researching the story, and writing it in verse. I absolutely love the idea of promoting authentically African literature for children, written by Africans from every country, and every walk of life – it’s so important to create a culture of reading in our children.”

There’s a Hyena in my Kitchen: Juma is something of a fussy eater, and when he pushes his plate away one evening, the food uneaten, his mother warns him that he will have to eat the food for breakfast the following day. But in the morning, the food is gone, and they realise they have a hyena in the kitchen. Three times they chase the hyena away, but each time it returns to eat Juma’s leftovers. Juma is starting to get hungry, so he devises ways to trap the hyena. But the hyena is wily and nimble, and it escapes. Finally Juma finds the solution: he eats his dinner, and the hyena slinks off into the night.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Kwame-Aidoo_20140915-145539_1.jpgCharles Kwame Aidoo is the founder and manager Inkfluent; which has over the years collaborated with National Theatre, People of Equal Thoughts and Ehalakasa on several projects and events including poetry, arts and cultural festivals, open mics, flash mobs, slams and workshops in Ghana.

Kwame says. “I am quite new to the art and hereby acknowledge that Golden Baobab’s master-class for writers of children's stories which featured Mamle Wolo has sharpened my quill in this direction. I am happy to be included on the long-list of the 2014 Golden Baobab Prizes and look to achieve more with my works.”

The Tale of Busy Body Bee: It is a story about two friends - Ant and Bee. There was drought and Ant always worked himself out to produce enough but whenever he brought the harvest home, he would wake up to an empty stock. An advice from the wise Kwaku Ananse led Ant to add a magic pea to the subsequent harvest that got stuck in mischievous Bee’s tail.

b2ap3_thumbnail_shaleen_20140915-145631_1.jpgShaleen Keshavjee-Gulam was born and grew up in Nairobi. Her current occupation is a Property Developer, both commercial and residential. She is the creator and an administrator of "Kilimani Mums", a popular social media support group for Kenyan Mothers.  Shaleen lives in Nairobi with her husband and two daughters. She enjoys writing, especially for children. 

Describing how she felt when she received news she had been longlisted for the Golden Baobab Prizes, Shaleen says, "I was absolutely thrilled and incredibly honored."

Malaika's Magical Kiosk: Michelle is not a very happy little girl. Her mother has gone away to take care of her grandmother and left her with her bossy big sister. Everyone in the village is bad tempered because the rains are late and the food crops may die. But then a mysterious stranger arrives and sets up wonderful kiosk. There is a change in the air and incredible things begin to happen.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Portia-Dery_20140915-145717_1.jpgPortia Dery is writer/blogger, a community development worker and social entrepreneur with focus on writing activities in Ghana. Her love for books has dared her to become a writer. She enjoys gardening and meeting people.

“Thank you Jesus, I shouted to my walls. I thought things like this happen to people on magic lands, perhaps I drunk some magic potion.  Very excited to contribute to African children’s literature but the real joy would be when a child picks up my story to read and smile with satisfaction at the end. That would be sheer bliss!” Portia exclaimed when she received news she had been longlisted for the Golden Baobab Prizes

Grandma’s List: Everyone has problems but Fatima an eight (8) year girl has the biggest, she is tired of been treated as a child. For a long time now she has been looking for an opportunity to show everyone especially her family that she is smart like any other grownup…and then the day arrives when Fatima has the change to be a superwoman and save the day! She gets the opportunity to run errands for Grandma from grandma’s list of to-do-things and waits eagerly to be praised but things turn out differently and she learns an important lesson.

b2ap3_thumbnail_aleya-2_20140915-145806_1.jpgFrom Kenya is Aleya Kassam. Aleya is a writer, performer and storyteller. She is the co-creator of the Storymoja Publish Your Own Book series (which has published over 300 children); she delights in finding new ways to excite children about writing and exploring stories.

Aleya says, “I am absolutely thrilled to be part of a movement that celebrates African Children's Literature. My hope is that kids around the Continent will have an abundance of incredible, juicy, fantastical, thrilling stories to read, stories that they see themselves in, that speak of their reality, their dreams, their worlds; and that this will drive an insatiable appetite for reading, just for sheer the pleasure of it!”

The Jacaranda Tree is about little Zawadi's quest to make her father smile again, after her mother passes away. The story is about a young girl, grappling with the death of her mother, and calling out to Nature to help bring happiness back in their lives. When Zawadi asks The Jacaranda Tree for a favour, she doesn't realize the consequences may be permanent. 

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Africa Writes 2014, an annual festival of literature that is considered as ‘UK’s biggest celebration of contemporary African writing’, had a special focus on Ama Ata Aidoo, a playwright, poet, novelist and academic from Ghana. Aidoo’s address—conducted in the form of a moderated interview or conversation with translator and critic Wangui wa Goro—was preceded by a short film on her life and literary achievements. Dr. wa Goro had in her introduction said that the aim of the conversation, that she hoped would be ‘our fireside conversation’, was to reflect on Aidoo’s expansive literary career and the main themes that have emerged from her work. 

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Aidoo is a member of the Advisory Board of the Accra (Ghana)-based Golden Baobab Prize for African Literature. Also attending the annual festival that features book launches, readings, author appearances, panel discussions and workshops for children and youth was Zahrah Nesbitt-Ahmed, a member of the 2014 Golden Baobab Prize for African Literature evaluations team. In describing the event, Zahrah said, “I was fortunate enough to attend Africa Writes with Ama Ata Aidoo - it was one of those situations where you cannot believe you are in the same room and listening to her speak. She is so funny and at the same time seemed like a strong woman who speaks her mind - it was one of those things that I will always remember.” Davida Wulff-Vanderpuije, who provides Public Relations support for Golden Baobab was also present and speaks about the 2014 Africa Writes Festival.

Africa Writes is an annual event; do you attend often?

This year was my second time at Africa Writes festival. I first participated in it in 2013.

What was your impression of Ama Ata Aidoo's interview with wa Goro?     

This segment was the highlight for me. I was in enthrall of Ama Ata Aidoo’s verve and engaging personality. She spoke with feeling about each of her works, including an anecdote on how people still haven’t forgiven her for the death of Anowa. As an interviewer, my personal opinion is that wa Goro did not make the most of the broad scope of questions she could have asked AAA. The segment was interspersed with a docu-film on AAA (shot by YabaBlay), and it seemed to me some of her questions had already been addressed by AAA in the film, thus we could have benefitted from other perspectives not covered by the film. In fact, to some of her questions, the witty AAA told her people could easily Google that, confirming to a certain extent, the feeling that parts of the conversation were ‘wasted’ on questions we already knew answers to. However, AAA more than made up for it. She was introduced as a ‘living literary legend’ by wa Goro, and appreciative laughter and applause from the audience say we all agreed. From the moment AAA started to speak, it was obvious we were in the hands of a master storyteller, taking us on the journey of her early life and school days in Wesley Girls High School, to the body of works and teachers who fuelled her passion for writing. Naturally, the WGHS old girls in the audience hooted delightfully with a most unladylike sound at the mention of our great school (or maybe that was just me..:-) In all, it was a great conversation, leaving us feeling like time flew by too quickly and it was over before we knew it.

What were the effects of seeing Ama Ata Aidoo, a Ghanaian, on that platform being interviewed by wa Goro?

I had a very proud moment, because this was the main event of the entire festival. For me, it was the double draw of having not only a Ghanaian, but a leading author whose protagonists have often been women who make radical choices and defy traditional gender roles at that. As she reflected on the main themes of her works of fiction, I got a real sense of her heart and work for the empowerment of women, and it was inspiring too.

What are some of the impacts you think such events will make on the literary scene in Africa?

Africa Writes is fertile ground for showcasing established and emerging talent from Africa and the diaspora, so it brings the knowledge of these writers to a wider audience. The festival has become a big celebration of contemporary African writing that is expanding and pushing new boundaries. This bodes well for the literature scene in Africa. African writers are diverse in their approach to telling their stories, and challenging the very notion of ‘African literature’. This is exciting for the continent and its diaspora because we get the benefit of the rise in genre fiction and the development of different narratives. Crucially, it challenges us to be the authors of our own stories.

It was a real delight when Davida came into contact with the 2013 winner of the Early Chapter Book Prize, Ivor Hartman. Answering the question on how the two of them connected at such a big event, Davida responded:

He was a panelist on a segment titled 'Imagining Future Africa' which discussed the impact of innovation and technology on African sci-fi, speculative and fantasy writing. This was a bold discussion on a genre that writers on the continent are engaging with as they imagine their own futures. After the talk, I approached Ivor and introduced myself in connection with Golden Baobab.

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Any concluding remarks?

I'm looking forward to the time when Golden Baobab pitches camp at Africa Writes.

 

 

 

 

 

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Executive Director, Miss Deborah Ahenkorah, inspired participants of this year's Ashesi Innovations Experience (AIX) with her story on how she started Golden Baobab during her second year at the University. She described the numerous challenges she faced while setting up an organization at that stage of her life. She went further to advise, "You are likely to fail after your first try but try again."

About Ashesi Innovations Experience (AIX)

The Ashesi Innovation Experience (AIX) is a two (2) week-long programme targeting Senior High School students in Ghana. It aims at giving participants the tools and skills necessary for success in the 21st Century. This year, the program brought together 90 High School students who explored various opportunities in Entrepreneurship, Robotics and Design while being groomed to be ethical leaders in their societies.

The programme comprised of peer evaluations, coaching sessions and motivational talks. Miss Ahenkorah together with Golda Addo and Solomon Martey shared their experiences on social entrepreneurship to motivate the students gathered. Participants had firsthand knowledge on how to start and sustain businesses as well as how to tackle various challenges in one's community.

In sharing her thoughts, Miss Ahenkorah said, “It was an honour to be part of AIX2014.  I could see eagerness on the faces of the participants and I hope they go to inspire their generation with the knowledge and skills they have acquired. I want to congratulate Ashesi University for organizing this programme.” 

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Golden Baobab has begun evaluating stories for the 2014 Literature Prizes. This year, the Prizes received a total of 210 stories from 12 different countries across the continent. The reading season of the evaluation process is in its third week.

The Evaluation Process

The evaluation process is made up of two sessions: the reading season, which spans from July to August and the judging season in October. Before the reading season, stories that were received for Literature Prizes are put into packs: four stories per pack for the Early Chapter Book and eight stories per pack for the Picture Book. Each week, a reader receives a pack of stories and a score sheet to record evaluations. At the end of the week, stories are returned and readers receive new packs of stories. Evaluation of the stories is guided by The Golden Baobab Evaluation Handbook Book, a 22-page document which spells out responsibilities of the readers and the criteria for grading stories.  For diverse perspectives, a story is read at least twice by different readers. Stories that get the lowest scores during the reading season are dropped and the highest scoring stories make the longlist. The judging season begins after the longlist is selected. During the judging season, the longlisted stories are evaluated by six judges to select a shortlist and winners of the Golden Baobab Prizes for African Literature.

Meet the 2014 Reading Team

Members of the reading team are volunteers dedicating two months of their year to sift through stories that were received during the Call for Submissions to select a longlist.  This year, 22 readers from Kenya, Singapore, India, Canada, Germany, South Africa, USA and Ghana form the panel. They consist a physician, a primary school librarian, a publisher, an English Teacher, a drilling fluid engineer, students and graduates. The diversity of readers is to enable Golden Baobab select stories which will be lauded and appreciated by a wide variety of readers all over the world.

Our reading panel had a little chit chat to know each other better. Below are snippets of the conversation and some of the responses will definitely make you smile:

If you were God for a day, what is the first thing you would do?

  • Press the earth's reset button.
  • Create harmony and love
  • Make everyone honest.
  • Give me more hours in the day please!
  • I'd instill some intrinsic motivation in all my jaded students. 
  • I would probably take away the concept of violence from human minds.
  • Rainbow colored beaches. And then I would take us all back to the Garden of Eden and save a ton of complications.
  • I’ll give the title back to God. I think He’s doing a great job.
  • Wow, I don't think I have the strength, patience or wisdom to be God, but I think I would pause the world and sprinkle love dust on everyone (yes, I said love dust), I think if we all remember to love others above ourselves most of the problems we are facing will seize to exist.

Interesting things about you that you dislike?

  • I say a lot of things I don't mean. I seriously need a filter. 
  • I am a perfectionist. Really drives me mad when I have an important assignment to undertake.
  • My ability to touch my nose with my tongue. That must mean my tongue is way too long, right?!
  • None or very few of the things I pursue in life seem to have any correlation with being a real-life adult making real-life money... is quite worrying at this point. 
  • I am a worrier by nature - and I have extremely "thin skin" and tend to take everything too personal. I have tried to "toughen up", but it hasn't worked so far and since I am heading towards the 50s, I have kind of given up on it ;)
  • I have an unexplainable dislike for peas. I don't know why, but I see peas and I just can't eat them.
  • I am a huge over thinker. I like to ponder and nit-pick at every angle which can quickly get exhausting.
  • I don't often think ahead, and recently that's come to bite me in the backside.
  • Boring habits of mine that can be annoying to others is my tendency to be nitpicky.

 

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Great news for illustrators, artists and designers in Africa!! Golden Baobab has extended the deadline for submissions to the 2014 Golden Baobab Prize for Illustrators. The new submission deadline is Midnight GMT, Friday, August 22, 2014. 

The goal of the Golden Baobab Prizes is to discover, nurture and celebrate talented African writers and illustrators of children's stories. There is a $7500 cash prize at stake as well as the opportunity to be celebrated as Africa's leading children's illustrator.

If you are an African illustrator/artist, get excited and ready to submit! Do share this news with any illustrators/artists you know. 

Find our rules and regulations in English, Francais, Português and العربية. For submission details, visit  submit your illustrations.

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Golden Baobab has extended the deadline for submissions of its Literature Prizes to midnight GMT on Monday, July 21, 2014.  This decision came about when several writers faced difficulties during the submission process.

Prize Coordinator, Delali Kumapley says, “This is a mop-up exercise; we realized a lot of people made unsuccessful attempts to submit to the Prizes so we decided to give writers two more weeks to make their entry submissions. Those who submitted to the Prizes and did not receive acknowledgment and those who intended to enter the competition should take advantage of this opportunity. Again, we wish to apologize for any inconvenience that was caused during the submission process.”

The extension will not affect the evaluation process; everything will go on as scheduled and the winners of the various prizes will be announced in November this year.

To submit stories to the Prizes, visit: http://www.goldenbaobab.org/prizes/submissions/submit-your-story

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Every few weeks, I meet someone who tells me they want to be a writer. Quite often they say they want to write for children or have started writing to give their children something more fun to read. They work in the evenings, after long days behind desks and putting little ones to bed. They tell me they have been workin on it for 6 months or 6 years. All of them want to know how to get published. Many of them imagine it will be much more glamorous and profitable than it’s really likely. Quite a few of them have multiple books they have abandoned, half or a quarter way because they could not find inspiration or had ran out of ideas. I must have met dozens of people with this story in the last 5 years or so. There must be thousands of these hopeful storytellers across Africa but where do all their stories go? Very few of them are ever published by a traditional trade publisher. To be fair, there are very few strictly trade or children’s book publishers on our continent to begin with.

Writing textbooks or other educational materials would certainly be a more sensible and reliable source of income for those who wish to write professionally for children. We have not begun to fully mine the potential of technology to unleash our stories into the world. Why haven’t we? I could point to the many institutional roadblocks and structural inequalities of the publishing world. I could lament our odd preference for work from beyond our own shores.

Today, I’d like to talk about fear. This is the one thing that all those who have told me they want to be writers have in common. They are afraid they can’t finish writing their book or it won’t be good enough if they do, afraid of the inevitable rejection letters or their book won’t sell. I am not immune to these fears. For years, my particular brand of fear was that people would think that I couldn’t really write if I chose to write solely for children. My fear fuelled my excuses for not doing the only thing that would actually make me a ‘real’ writer: writing. I have a theory that this is why after many years as Africa’s only Pan-African children’s literature prize; Golden Baobab only received 180 story submissions for the 2013 prize. 180 stories? On a continent with billions of people? That is deeply depressing, especially since we have no shortage of writers; just a shortage of opportunities.

The Golden Baobab Prize and its writing and illustration workshops, represent one of the few, reasonably accessible opportunities to become a real writer. The stories submitted are written by Africans and for African children, in settings that are relatable, with characters not so unlike the children themselves. So why aren’t there more entries? Where do all our stories go? They go nowhere and we are going nowhere as long as this is the case. Stories can be as powerful as bullets. They can shift perspectives and ignite passions. They can keep our history and heritage alive. They can change the future for one child and a whole family. If you want to be a writer, you don’t need to keep telling everyone. This week could be your chance. I’ve already submitted my entry to the Golden Baobab Prize. Where is yours?

 

 

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 A few weeks ago, we started our search for our very first Golden Baobab Media Fellow! The Golden Baobab Media Fellowship is a highly selective program that provides journalists or journalism students the opportunity to write articles and features to promote the children’s literature scene in Africa, while gaining exposure. We received many impressive applications and we are happy to say that after a thorough evaluation we have settled on our first ever Media Fellow and we are excited to introduce her to you!

Her name is Bontle Senne from South Africa and for the next six (6) months, she will be helping to raise awareness about Golden Baobab’s work through well-written, creative and informative pieces which will be published all over Africa.

Profile of Bontle Senne

Bontle is a blogger, web editor, speaker and literary activist on the board of NPO Puku Children's Literature Foundation and NPO READ Educational Trust. She writes stories for FunDza Literary Trust and regularly speaks on social media and children's literature at international literary festivals and conferences including the University of South Africa's Children's Reading Conference 2012, Frankfurt International Book Fair 2012 and 2013, Salon du Livre (Paris Book Fair) 2013, Etonnants Voyageurs - Brazzaville, Congo 2013 and Etonnants Voyageurs - Saint Malo, France 2013. She also presented the fourth annual Beyers Naude Memorial Lecture at the University of the Free State in 2012.

We welcome Bontle to the Golden Baobab team! Watch out for her articles!

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On Saturday, 14th June, 2014, Mamle will facilitate a Master Class on Writing for Children. This Master Class is being organized by Mbaasem in partnership with Golden Baobab and is being funded by The African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) and The Royal Bank Limited.

Mamle Wolo is a writer of Ghanaian and German parentage. She was born and raised in Ghana until the age of 14 when she moved to the United Kingdom. She completed her secondary schooling there, after which she studied at the University of Cambridge, where she obtained her B.A and M.A in Modern Languages and her MPhil in Latin-American Studies. She returned to Ghana in 1992 where she has since been resident and works as an independent Ghanaian consultant working in development and specializing in the fields of Education, Gender and Child Labour.

Mamle took up fiction writing in the late 1990s and has since written numerous short stories, all of which have been published in various anthologies and journals in Africa, the UK and the US. One of these is The End of Skill which was nominated for the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2009.  Mamle also won the first prize in the 2011 Burt Award for children’s writing for her story, The Kaya Girl, scooping the top prize for an unpublished manuscript.

In July this year, Mamle will be a lead facilitator of the first creative non-fiction writers workshop in Kampala, Uganda, which is being organized by The African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) and the Uganda Women Writers Association (FEMRITE).

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“These are high level meetings and most of the time, there are no representations for the arts or children. It’s an economic meeting where they discuss health, security, etc. But what about issues related to the arts, authors, illustrations, children and what we are feeding their minds with?  So it was an honor to have been part of this extremely important discussion to contribute our perspectives to how we think the future of Africa should be shaped.”

Those were the words of Executive Director of Golden Baobab, Deborah Ahenkorah, who was present at this year’s World Economic Forum on Africa in Abuja. The World Economic Forum is an international institution committed to improving the state of the world through public-private cooperation. It engages political, business, academic and other leaders of society in collaborative efforts to shape global, regional and industry agenda.  Together with other stakeholders, it works to define challenges, solutions and actions, always in the spirit of global citizenship.

During the forum, Miss Ahenkorah was on a panel that discussed Education in Africa and she recalls, “I shared on education and my view was - as much as education focuses on quality, it should not over-run the basics of what information you are providing the children.  As we are building schools and libraries, we should pay extreme attention to what our children are being taught because this influences their thinking pattern.” 

The World Economic Forum was preceded by a three-day Summit of Global Shapers in Africa. Global Shapers Summit is a gathering of 100 young people in Africa who are doing interesting works that are impacting the continent. Participants of the summit interacted with Rwandan President, Paul Kagami and Former President of Brazil, Lula Da Silva. The highlight for Miss Ahenkorah was when Former Brazilian President walked into the room to a rousing applause and according to her, “Mr. Lula went round to shake the hand of every single Global Shaper, looking each of us in the face with a genuine smile. Key take away from the summit's conversation was: you don't need qualifications to bring about change. You only need to listen to the problems of your people and solve the problems. It's not politics; it's problem solving.”    

 

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Golden Baobab's award

On Monday, March 24 this year, Golden Baobab was awarded the Best Children's Publisher of the Year in Africa at the annual Bologna Children’s Book Fair in Italy. The award was in recognition of Golden Baobab’s efforts to help improve and develop children's content on the African continent.

The Bologna Children’s Book Fair is one of the most important international events dedicated to the children’s publishing and multimedia industry.  It is a meeting of authors, illustrators, literary agents, licensors and licensees, packagers, distributors, printers, booksellers, and librarians. It also serves as a platform for finding the very best of children’s publishing and multimedia production, for generating and gathering new contacts while strengthening professional relationships. This year’s event saw an exhibition of more than 30,000 illustrators, writers, exhibitors and trade operators from all over the world. 

The Bologna Book Fair in Italy

In the words of the Executive Director of Golden Baobab, Deborah Ahenkorah, quote, “We are absolutely honoured and delightfully surprised that Golden Baobab’s nascent publishing efforts have been recognized while we launch our publishing activities this year.”

Photo of award winners

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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When the African Women's Development Fund (AWDF) announced that it would be holding a three-day workshop on Results Based Management (RBM) for eight of its grantees, we at Golden Baobab knew we had to seize the opportunity! We put in our application and Nanama Acheampong, the programmes coordinator of the prize was accepted as a participant.

The RBM workshop took place from the 13th-16th of May, 2014 and was held at the beautiful Laico Regency Hotel in the heart of Nairobi, Kenya. 

About RBM

RBM is a strategic management approach which involves, among other things, accurately defining goals and objectives, planning activities to achieve them and effective report writing.

Programmes coordinator’s experience at RBM

Commenting on the RBM experience, Miss Acheampong said, “I was excited about being a part of the RBM training because it did not only give me the opportunity to network with women from different parts of Africa who are playing similar roles as I am, but it also helped to improve my planning, implementing and reporting skills. These will enhance my performance in my current role as coordinator of the prizes.” 

 Snapshot of presentation at the workshopSnapshot of presentation at the workshop 

According to Miss Acheampong, Awino Okech, a facilitator at the workshop, was absolutely brilliant in how she led the workshop, weaving individual work, group activities and presentations into the mix to ensure that they are properly understood and put to use, the new things they were learning.  

Awino Okech,facilitator at the workshop

In all, Miss Acheampong left the workshop knowing the importance of ensuring that goals/desired results are accurately defined and realistic and how to properly and effectively capture impact made during report writing.

 

 

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Golden Baobab is happy to introduce Daisy Chang, our Communications Fellow!  Daisy is a graduate of Wellesley, MA, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics. So far, Daisy has written and designed beautiful proposals, assisted with research work and is currently working on building a GeeBee mascot prototype which is coming along nicely, as can be seen in the photo above. We had a little chat with Daisy to find out a little more about her.

 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name is Daisy (though the lady I buy oranges from knows me as Akua, meaning Wednesday born) and I am Korean-American, from New York, graduated from Wellesley, and figuring out life. 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I like to walk. Some places I really enjoy walking are across the Harvard Bridge from Cambridge to Boston, along the long dusty road from the Pastor's house to the river bank in New Longoro (Brong Ahafo), and up the mountain trail to the train tracks near my home in NY. I also like to bike, journal, and eat delicious things. 

In Accra, I find that I can't walk as much as I'd like, definitely not bike (because I fear for my life), and a lot of my favorite delicious things are not found here. I took Debbie's suggestion to use my 2-3 commuting-in-traffic time and have been going through audiobooks. I am currently making my way through LOTR; I just finished the Hobbit and am deep into the Fellowship of the Ring.

This is your second time in Ghana, what have been your impressions so far? How long are you in Ghana for?

I landed January 5 and will leave May 1, totaling four months overall. By this point, that initial honeymoon phase of traveling to a new country has definitely worn off. My view of Ghana has normalized a lot, in the same way people who idealize a country (like the United States or France) realize over time that every place has its own conveniences and struggles. However, I will say that I enjoy the friendliness and trust here; yesterday on my morning commute, a woman handed me and a stranger each a baby to hold while she held her third child. Sometimes though, that friendliness goes a little far...like the group of children who walk me home from the bus stop every evening. After walking me yesterday and in the midst of saying goodbye, one child picked an orange out of our tree and the next thing I know, there are like 30 crazy children stripping the poor tree of all its unripe fruits. They are a very threateninggang of 7 year olds.

How much of Ghana have you been able to see and what activities have you managed to do?

The furthest north I've been is to Brong-Ahafo. I've also been to the Bui Dam, Suame Magazine in Kumasi, and Elmina Slave Castle near Cape Coast. However, I am most proud of getting around in Accra and learning to navigate the trotro system. 

How did you decide to join the Golden Baobab team?

As a student, I had heard the name Golden Baobab because of its association with the Echoing Green Fellowship. When a friend offered to introduce me to a number of different organizations and listed Golden Baobab as one, I put it at the top of my list. I really believe that Golden Baobab is going to be big and push the frontier of children's literature, so it was an honor to be connected.

What is your role during your time at Golden Baobab and what about it excites you most?

My role as a fellow has been somewhere in the junction of communications and business development. I've been exploring the idea of corporate sponsorships as a means of distributing books locally and talking with key people in these corporations and writing proposals. I also have had the opportunity to support Nanama in finding the applicant base for the new Illustrators' Prizes, as well a number of other exciting tasks. For example, later this week, I get to go hunting for materials to prototype a Golden Baobab mascot.

What has been your experience at Golden Baobab so far? What are some of the opportunities you have received to learn new things?

My experience has been that the Golden Baobab staff is excellent and good at what they do, and a personal challenge for myself is to always learn from people and adapt habits I would like to have. For example, I admire Nanama's serious focus as well as her confidence and eloquence in voicing her thoughts; as for Debbie, I respect her vision casting and the speed at which she generates ideas. Her brain is like a high speed train and well.

Aside from those things that I am trying to learn from them, I've also learned how to use new software which was (is) a pleasant challenge.

Who was your favourite storybook character growing up? 

I had many. Thinking back to kindergarten, when I would sit on the story-time reading mat at the back of the classroom, the characters I can clearly recall are: Strega Nona for her pasta making prowess and ability to transport me to Italy through the words and pictures, the Rainbow Fish for his beautiful glimmering scales, Tikki Tikki Tembo for the rhymes and the challenge of reciting as many lines from memory as fast as possible, and--though I read this later in life--Punchinello from You are Special, for teaching me about God.

As I grew a bit older, I made new friends who (in their books) were also my age--I really liked Salamanca from Walk Two Moons and wanted to be Ella from Ella Enchanted, but I also lived through Ender, Harry, the Narnia children, the Animorphs, Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, and so so so many more...I'll stop here so I can get back to work.

What are your plans for the future?

Stay in Ghana until It's time to leave.

 

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Accra, February 24th, 2014 – Golden Baobab has launched the 2014 Golden Baobab Prizes for African children’s literature and illustrations. In this 6th year of the prize, the Ghana based literary social enterprise Golden Baobab and its supporters will be awarding 6 distinct prizes worth $20,000. These 6 prizes are:

  • The Golden Baobab Prize for Picture Book
  • The Golden Baobab Prize for Early Chapter Book
  • The Golden Baobab Prize for Rising Writers
  • The Golden Baobab Prize for Illustrators
  • The Golden Baobab Prize for Rising Illustrators
  • The Golden Baobab Lifetime Achievement in Children’s Literature Award

Marking the 6th anniversary of the Golden Baobab Prizes, its coordinator, Nanama B. Acheampong states, “we are excited this year to be presenting 6 prizes. For 5 years we have successfully run 3 prizes for literature. As we enter our 6th year, we are thrilled to be able to transfer the expertise we have gained to illustration in Africa and to recognizing lifetime contributors to African children’s literature. The new prizes we are launching this year are: the Golden Baobab Prize for Illustrators, The Golden Baobab Prize for Rising Illustrators and the Golden Baobab Lifetime Achievement in Children’s Literature Award.”

2014 Golden Baobab Prize winners will receive cash prizes worth $20,000, opportunities to be published, invitations to the Golden Baobab Award ceremony, mentorship, press opportunities and participation in exhibitions.

Commenting on the launch of the 2014 Prizes, Deborah Ahenkorah, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Golden Baobab said, “I’m thrilled that as we mark the 6th anniversary of the prizes, we are doing more than we ever have to champion the work of African writers and illustrators of children’s stories. For example, we have increased cash prizes from an annual $3000 to an annual $20,000. This increase reflects the value we place on the work created by incredibly talented writers and illustrators of African children’s stories. This is only the beginning of our aspirations for this space.”

2014 will see Golden Baobab launch an active search for corporate and foundation partnerships to continue to do more for African children’s literature. For information about the Golden Baobab prizes, visit Golden Baobab’s website. The Golden Baobab Prizes are supported by the African Library Project.

We encourage you to share this post with anyone you know who might be interested in participating in any of the above prizes. For further information, please contact Nanama B. Acheampong at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

  • To view and share our 2014  Promotional Poster for The Golden Baobab Prizes for Literature, please click here
  • To view and share our 2014  Promotional Poster for The Golden Baobab Prizes for Illustrations, please click here

 

 

 

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Our Golden Baobab Prizes coordinator, Nanama B. Acheampong, had the pleasure of attending the Ake Arts and Book Festival in Nigeria. She shares her experiences in this new blogpost!

The Ake Arts and Book Festival, if you haven’t already heard, was a tremendous success. It took place in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria, from 19-24 November, 2013 and was organized by writer and women's rights activist, Lola Shoneyin. The theme of the festival was 'Shadow of Memory.'

When at work we decided it would be a great idea for Golden Baobab to be at the festival, I did a little dance in my head. I had been stalking the Ake Festival website for a while and was intrigued by all the activities that promised to be memorable. I wanted to attend for this reason and for some others:

  1. I had never been to Nigeria and so badly wanted to go before the end of 2013
  2. I wanted to meet and speak with many of the writers who were listed on the Ake website
  3. The adventure junkie in me wanted to ride an Okada
  4. I wanted to try Nigerian food

I arrived at the Murtala Muhammed Airport on Thursday 21 and found my way to my hotel in Abeokuta. On arrival, I freshened up and immediately headed to the June 12 Cultural Centre which was the venue for the festival. At the lounge area, lunch was almost over and so I quickly grabbed myself a bowl of jollof and spicy chicken (I was told it was the last one left, lucky me!) from the lovely caterer whose accent sounded like a mixture of British and Nigerian. I then looked around for a place to sit and decided on a chair beside a corn-rowed woman who was busily poking away at her iPad. Through conversation, I found out she was Doreen Baingana, Ugandan writer and winner of the 2006 Commonwealth Writers Prize for “Tropical Fish.” I bought a copy and got it signed by her. It was a good start to my Ake Festival experience.

I thoroughly enjoyed my four days at the festival. The following were my highlights:

Meeting writers, who I had previously only read or read about:  I bumped into Muthoni Garland, who was a 2010 judge for the Golden Baobab Prizes, Tope Folarin who is the 2013 winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing, Syl Cheney-Coker whose poetry I have seen in countless places and whose new book, Sacred River, I am eagerly waiting for. I met Sitawa Namwalie, who gave a splendid performance with Muthoni during the cocktail event, Binyavanga Wainaina, who had green hair to go with his green African print shirt and Lisa Teasley, who had such warm words, a ready smile and enviable locks.

The numerous book chats and the art exhibition: Teju Cole described scenes in Open City so well that it made me wish I had already read the book, Chibundu Onuzo touched on her story, The Spider King’s Daughter and made me debate with myself whether it’s really possible for two very different worlds to come together, Marlon James read excerpts from his novel, The Book of Night Women, in Patois, the language it was written in, which fascinated me and made me want to hear more of it. I also met Temitope Olorunfunmi, who was longlisted for this year’s Golden Baobab Prize for Early Chapter Books and looked at beautiful paintings at the art exhibition.

The stage adaptation of Lola Shoneyin’s The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives: The show started quite late and I was hungry but two minutes the first song and my hunger was all but forgotten. This play, which was adapted by Rotimi Babatunde, 2012 Caine Prize winner, was such a spectacle. It had enough music, dance, humour and drama in it to keep you completely entertained.

An audience with Wole Soyinka: At this special event, four under 21’s were given the chance to ask Wole Soyinka any question they wanted to. It was such a marvel to hear the professor talk about his hair regimen, something you probably wouldn’t hear anywhere else! After this, he sat down for a book signing. I was with a friend and we both wanted his autograph but didn’t have any of his books with us. We quickly ran up to the book fair that was taking place in the main auditorium and bought “Climate of Fea.r”  We took it back down to be signed, only to realize that Wole Soyinka had gotten in his car and was being driven off. We couldn’t help but laugh at ourselves!

The barbeque: I have two left feet that have made it quite impossible to keep to rhythm but during the barbeque on the evening of Saturday 23, I couldn’t help but join the dancing crowd that had gathered under the white tents behind the cultural centre. There was great food and drinks and a live band that played some catchy tunes. This was my last night in Nigeria and at the Ake Festival and I must say, it was a great way to spend it!

At the end of the Ake Festival, I had met so many wonderful writers, artists and book enthusiasts, I had bought a number of books to add to my Christmas reading list, I had gobbled mouthfuls of delicious Nigerian food, I had danced and I had been on one or two Okada rides. What more could I have asked for?

For more photos from The Ake Festival, visit our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151701364991734.1073741838.20509716733&type=1.

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"Gloria Steinem said “Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all is a form of planning.” Entering this competition and WINNING it encourages me to keep dreaming of the possibility of reaching children through the magic of books and the excitement of writing. What a dream come true to be able to contribute to the wonders of the imagination in such a way" - Liza Esterhuyse, 2013 Winner of the Golden Baobab Prize for Picture Books.

Liza Esterhuyse is a qualified occupational therapist with a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Intervention. Things you should know about Liza: She is a daydreamer, a book junkie, a red wine drinker, a world lover, a tree hugger, a dog enthusiast, a horse admirer and a Capetonian.

Due to her passion for the children of South Africa and the vast need in her country, Liza and a friend started a non-profit organization in 2010, called The Kula Foundation, with the aim to support vulnerable children growing up in adverse conditions. She is currently working for another non-profit organisation called Cape Mental Health where she is the coordinator of three special education and care centres in three different townships in the Western-Cape.

Find out a little more about Liza in this interview we had with her!

When you were young did you like to read?

Yes I loved reading books as a child, I still do! And even before I could read my, parents used to read to us every night before bedtime.

If you could bring one thing into the world, what would it be and why?

Laughter -laughter knows no boundaries, no politics, no race, no religion. For a moment you forget and forgive and you see life as it should be- beautiful.

What music do you listen to and who are your favourite bands or artists?

I listen to a diverse genre of music, but the CD’s you’ll currently find in my car include: The National; Muse; Florence and the Machine and Shortstraw. I am a huge 80’s fan and will not hesitate to bust a move on any one of that era’s greatest hits.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned about life so far?

To pick your battles, dream big and to follow your curiosity and intuition

What inspired you to write The Little Hippo?

I was on a Safari with my family in the Serengeti and saw a teenage hippo (according to our guide) grazing under an umbrella thorn tree in the midday sun. The sight intrigued me as it’s very unusual for a hippo to be out of the water during the day. So I started wondering why?  

What other writers inspire you and in what ways?

This is such a difficult question to answer. When I think of five of my most beloved books, the authors and the stories are all so different, but I think CS Lewis and his endless imagination inspired me to keep dreaming and to become part of the story which you are trying to tell.

When did you write your winning story?

The Little Hippo was born in April 2011, but I only started writing the story, 16 months later in August 2012.

What are you most passionate about now?

I’m passionate about horse riding (I wish I could do it every day); saving our beautiful planet, drinking coffee and the people I love.

What is your dream for African children’s literature?

I hope it grows and becomes strong, so that it can climb over all the obstacles Africa throws at it and reach each and every little inquisitive mind out there.

We hope for the same things Liza. Thanks for the interview!

 

 

 

 

 

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"Nestling against my mother for a bedtime story under the veil of a mosquito net was a magical time. The best stories were told when my sister and I pleaded for our mum to tell us a story from her head" - Karen Hurt, 2013 Winner of the Golden Baobab Prize for Early Chapter Books.

Karen Hurt is a South Africa based independent writer, editor, materials developer and writing workshop facilitator. She is also the winner of the 2013 Golden Baobab Prize for Early Chapter Books for her story,What’s Going on at 179 Jabulani Street

Apart from addressing current topics in a way that children will find engaging, Karen has learnt to shed her protector role and free her young protagonists when she is writing fiction. Esi Sutherland-Addy, professor at the University of Ghana African Studies Department and 2013 judge commented on Karen's story, “The protagonists of this gripping adventure story are depicted as true children; up to pranks and trying to outwit grownups.” 

We had a nice little chat with Karen and she told us about some of her favourite books. Read the interview below to find out what they are!

Describe your childhood. What were you like, what was your family like, and what did you like to do?

My parents encouraged natural curiosity and for us, their daughters, to take an interest in current affairs; and to see the world as our classroom. I never once heard them tell me that there was something I couldn’t do because I was a girl. They did not doubt the imaginary horses I galloped around on nor my imaginary friends. My mother crawled into the tent-style houses we made out of sheets pegged onto chairs set on a carpet that floated on rivers, and she pretended to drink the muddy-water tea we concocted.

 Playing with marbles and cars, setting up a classroom for my dolls and making them tiny school books (I have no recollection what I taught, if anything), climbing the huge tree in our garden and observing the world below,putting on spontaneous shows, and playing with friends were amongst my favourite things to do.

My parents were avid readers and through them I developed a taste for reading. These values; and childhood experiences growing up in Zambia (where I was born), the UK, and South Africa shaped my formative years.

On what I was like, I just called my 82-year-old mother. She said I was, ‘never in trouble and easy-going.’ I guess I live out the life of getting up to mischief through the characters in my stories.

 When you were young did you like to read?

I loved reading on my own, and listening to stories that my parents or teachers read aloud. The family reading tradition continued when I had children – we’d gather together mostly in the evening or when on holiday for story times. We read the Harry Potter series, Eva Ibbotson’s wonderful Journey to the River Sea, and Mike Haddon’s Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time this way. Even today, in conversation, we refer to those books we traversed together.

Actually, I still love being read to – a story, a newspaper article, something my children have written for school or university.

What types of books did you read? What was your favorite book as a child?

I read mostly detective, mystery and adventure stories. Enid Blyton’s adventure/fantasy The Magic Faraway Tree was a favourite. And the very sad Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse by Ursula Moray Williams. After many tearful chapters, at least it had a happy ending. I believe this book has recently been republished.

How did you come to start writing?

As a child I wrote little stories and letters to family from the time I learnt how to write. Whenever my family travelled, diary writing was part of the journey. I still have some of the entries.

What other writers inspire you and in what ways?

I’ve been inspired and moved by so many writers both in fiction and narrative nonfiction. Most recently, however, Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being – shortlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize – has caused me to think about time, and being, in a new way. It’s a breath-taking multidimensional story with a fascinating teenage protagonist. The story has lingered and I hope it will motivate me to be more experimental and perhaps more daring in how and what I write in future. NoViolet Bulawayo’s novel We Need New Names – shortlisted for the same prize – inspires me to want to craft harder and more creatively at dialogue, description and the creation and sustaining of vivid children characters and their voices.

I get much food for thought from reading or listening to/watching interviews with authors. Philip Pullman comes to mind here, as does Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, especially her TED talk The Danger of a Single Story.  

What does winning the Golden Baobab Prize mean for you?

It means the world to me. Being told the news still feels unreal. When I think about it, my heart does a quick cartwheel. I hope it will mean networking and possibly collaborating in some way with authors who share the Golden Baobab’s passion, mission and goals. And to have the story published would be absolutely fabulous!

What inspired you to write What’s Going on at 179 Jabulani Street? 

I tend to start with place, a faint scent of a theme or plot, and then characters. With What’s going on at 179 Jabulani Street? I wanted to set a story on the side of Johannesburg where I live, beneath the gaze of two tall buildings that dominate our skyline day and night in a compass-like way. Ponte Tower is a 54-storey donut-style apartment building which has a red crown at night, and the Hillbrow Tower’s top shines blue. Most of the story takes place nearby in Yeoville, where Sophie, one of the two protagonists, lives.

There have been regular ads on the radio and TV saying we all need to do something about stopping rhino poaching and many news stories about how many rhino have been killed; and debates around how to stop the poaching and decrease demand for rhino horn powder. How do children whose concerns are more survivalist relate to these rhino stories and being urged to do something?

I decided to explore this through the story. The research was fascinating and in some cases visually violent. I found out about poaching and smuggling techniques and routes. On the internet I came across an interview with a cleaner in one of the big game reserves about the impact of poaching on her life. This gave me some insight that I was looking for.

What inspires you as a writer?

  • Places.
  • Authors whose writing is of a quality that takes my breath away. It makes me want to learn more about the craft of writing.
  • Quirky things when walking or driving around my district and the city – or anywhere. Story ideas pop up this way but many fizzle out. One image that has remained with me is watching a grown man running down the street at high speed pushing a pink toy pram. Why? It seemed to me there were so many possibilities. I still want to get to that story.
  • When, after drafts and drafts, the story begins to coalesce and there’s that feeling that it’s going to work.

What is your dream for African children’s literature?

We need a deliciously wide range of genres written by African writers, set in African contexts with characters that African children will be excited by and identify with. I think it is overdue that children all over the world had the opportunity to read stories like these.

What legacy would you as an African children’s writer want to leave in improving the reading and writing culture in Africa?

It feels presumptuous to talk about leaving a legacy. But I am passionate about promoting a love for reading and creative writing. I think campaigns to encourage reading and telling stories in families is one way to do this. Aside from enjoyment, it can also help children and parents/guardians open up discussions on topics that are sensitive and often avoided.

 I’m a big fan of promoting journal writing from a young age and encouraging writing as an enjoyable activity that helps children become confident at it, just like practicing a sport does. Journal writing can help children express themselves, and for them to find their own authentic voice when it comes to writing for school and pleasure.

 Children’s enthusiasm for writing can easily be squelched by teachers’ red ink corrections and focus on grammar and spelling. It would be great if we could spend more time in classrooms making space and time for children’s imagination to evolve, to write drafts and get feedback from peers and the teacher, and for editing to be done as the final part of the writing process.

Thanks for speaking with us, Karen. We've enjoyed our chat!

 

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“Why do I write? I write to inspire other people and to create my own characters and bring them to life.” – Kanengo Rebecca Diallo, Winner of the 2013 Golden Baobab Prize for Rising Writers.

Kanengo Rebecca Diallo is an incredible twelve year old writer  who lives in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, with her parents and two siblings. She is a seventh grade student at the International School of Tanganyika (IST). Her story, Pieces of Africa, is about four children with diverse backgrounds who come from different parts of Africa. They have been chosen to find all the magical puzzle pieces scattered around Africa in order to save the world. 

We had the opportunity to chat with Kanengo and find out how she developed her passion for writing at such a young age. Read our interview with her below!

What is the first thing you remember writing and how old were you?

I wrote a story about how lying had consequences when I was ten years old. That is the story I remember vividly. I started writing stories when I was as young as seven.

 At what age did you realize you wanted to write?

I realized writing was what I wanted to do for a long time when I was in fourth grade. I was about the only person in my class who would write pages and pages of stories when our teacher handed out writing assignments. Not only did I like writing the stories, I would admire them when the teacher put them up on the wall. The best compliments I treasured were the ones people would give me about my stories. I didn’t realize I liked writing so much until the day my teacher read out one of my stories to the class and every one said I should become an author.

 How did you find out about the Golden Baobab Prizes and why did you decide to enter?

I found out about Golden Baobab when I was in the sixth grade. An announcement about the competition was posted on the school bulletin board. I was actually late to school that day and my friends told me I should enter a story. I thank a lot of people for encouraging me to enter the competition. I also decided to enter because I wanted to finally get a chance to fulfill my dream of becoming an author. Now I'm one step closer to that dream! 

 What does winning the Golden Baobab Prize for Rising Writers mean for you?

It is the greatest honor to be Golden Baobab’s winner for the 2013 Rising Writer’s award. I will never forget this day. Winning the competition means a lot to me! Having had my story read and evaluated by so many incredible people is a huge plus. I am also very excited to be one of the judges on the panel for the 2014 Golden Baobab writing competition.

 What inspired you to write Pieces of Africa?

I was inspired by a previous story that I had started to write in fifth grade. It was about the four seasons instead of the four elements of earth. I thought this would relate more to African children. The stories had very different characters and settings but the central idea was common to both stories. One day I hope to turn the story I wrote in fifth grade into one of my series.

 What is the most important thing you’ve learned about life so far?

Life is a gift from God. It is very valuable because it is short and we should use that time to do great things that will leave a mark on this planet and in people’s lives.

 What is your favourite local meal?

 I have so many! I quite like chapatti and choroko (green grams). I usually like eating it on a cold day to warm my belly.

 What is the last book you read and liked and why did you like it?

The last book that I read and liked a lot was the Winnie Years series. I liked it a lot because it was told in a child’s perspective and it talked about the challenges of growing up. Another reason I liked the book was because I could relate to the main character when she was twelve years old as I am also twelve years old.

 What are your writing ambitions for the future?

 I will write the second book of the Pieces of Africa series and hopefully get it published. After that, I am hoping to start a new series and draw comics too. I think I will write five books in all for the Pieces of Africa series.

Thanks for chatting with us, Kanengo. We know you will go on to write amazing African children's stories!

 

 

 

 

 

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2013 Shortlist for the Golden Baobab Prize for Picture Books

The Princess with a Golden Voice by Philip Begho (Nigeria)

But the great head just swayed and swayed, and then the eyes of the beast closed. The monster was enchanted by the song! Quietly, it laid its huge head down on the ground. Without stopping her song, Ese snatched a huge sword from a guard. With her two hands, she swung it at the snake. And cut off its head!

Philip Begho is an award-winning author who has published over a hundred books, including the critically acclaimed Jelly Baby (a novel about boy soldiers), Songbird (a young adults novel about career choice), and the blockbuster Penny for an Orphan. Philip appeared twice on the longlist for his stories, The Princess with a Golden Voice and The Two-Headed Monster. However, it was The Princess with a Golden Voice that made it onto the 2013 shortlist. 

"How exciting to make the 2013 shortlist for the Golden Baobab Prize for Picture Books!” he said. “The news came as I was pondering where the greatest stories lurked. In films? On the stage? In real life? In bestselling novels? No, they are to be found in the best children's stories. For no story is as timeless, as universal, as revealing or as helpful as the best of the world's children's stories.”

 

The Little Hippo by Liza Esterhuyse (South Africa)

But how amazing” The Little Hippo thought, “that although we are all so very different we can still work together to keep each other safe. We can be a part of the same herd, even though we don’t look the same. And so the Little Hippo said goodbye to his new little friend (who was still very tired after her swim) and happily and SLOWLY plodded his way back to his pond and pod. 

Liza Esterhuyse is a qualified occupational therapist with a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Intervention who loves children’s books.  

“Gloria Steinem said “without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all is a form of planning.” Entering this competition and being shortlisted encourages me to keep dreaming of the possibility of reaching children through the magic of books and the excitement of writing. What a dream come true to be able to contribute to the wonders of the imagination in such a way!” 

 

 Grandma Mimo's Breakfast by Carol Gachiengo (Kenya)

 

“Sweet beetles!” Grandma Mimo exclaimed, shaking her head. “Why won’t my red hen come out of the tree? Why won’t my white hen come out from under the store house? Where is my black hen hiding? Why won’t the goat give milk? I’m really very hungry and I need to have my breakfast. Her stomach agreed by grumbling and rumbling so loudly that it scared her shaggy cat. The cat gave a loud meow and ran under the bed.

Carol lives in Nairobi, Kenya, and works as a journalist and lawyer. Despite her busy schedule, she wrote a story, Grandma Mimo’s Breakfast, for the 2013 Golden Baobab Prizes.

“The news that I was shortlisted for the Golden Baobab Award absolutely made my day! I’m honoured to be part of a movement to create more beautiful African stories that our children can relate to.”

 

2013 Shortlist for the Golden Baobab Prize for Early Chapter Books

Seven by Sabina Mutangadura (Zimbabwe)

“I know you’ll do really well,” Mama said, opening her door. She got out, opened my door and smiled at me. I undid my buckle and gave her a half smile. She took hold of my hand and led the way round the back of the building. Some of the people on the benches looked at us. I looked back at them. I wanted to say, “Stare, stare like a bear.....like a sausage in the air!” the way Emma had taught me. But I said nothing. 

Sabina Mutangadura lives with her husband and daughter in Harare where she works as a full time writer of children’s and young adult novels. Sabina is the author of  Unfashionably in Love, a Nollywoods romance novel.

“I am enormously pleased to have made the shortlist. Really, enormously pleased. What an honour and a privilege!” 

 

Rhino by Richard Street (South Africa)

“What are we going to do now?” asked Makena anxiously. “They’re getting closer.” “We can’t stay here,” said Tafari. “We’ll have to hide. There’s plenty of thick bush and if we stay quiet they’ll never find us. They can’t see us yet. Better move quickly." Makena and Tafari bent low as they scampered away and into the safety of the bushes. 

Richard Street is a retired junior high school teacher and avid nature lover. Like many, Richard is horrified by the increase in rhino poaching activities in South Africa which is home to most of the world's rhinos.

 I feel enormously proud and humbled that my story has been judged to be worthy of this honour – particularly as it touches on a theme which is precious to me – the preservation of Africa’s treasure of wildlife in all its magnificence and variety, especially the majestic rhino which is in danger of being wiped out within a generation.”

 

 What's Going on at 179 Jabulani Street? by Karen Hurt (South Africa)

Sophie and Jama huddled together under the trap door for about half an hour. By the time The Colonel had gone into another room to look for the spare keys to the house, packed the crates into the van and driven away their legs were stiff and they were dusty and tired. Mr Chirindza opened the trap door and they climbed out. 

Karen Hurt is an independent writer, editor, materials developer and writing workshop facilitator.

“For quite some time I had been thinking about rhino poaching and the smuggling of rhino horns. There are regular ads on the radio saying we all need to do something and frequent news stories on how many rhinos have been killed. I wondered, “how do children relate to these rhino stories and to being urged to do something?” I decided to explore this through my story."

 

2013 Shortlist for the Golden Baobab Prize for Rising Writers

The Little Secret by Fego Martins Ahia (Oghenefego Ahia), 

When her Papa opened the door to check if she was still awake, she closed her eyes and covered her face with the free end of the bed linen. He disappeared without a sound, except for the soft noise of the wooden door. Kamila opened her eyes again and wondered what pigeons ate for dinner. "Do they eat white rice, like us?" she asked herself, a little too loudly, as if she were talking to someone else, someone she couldn't see in the dark.

Fego Martins Ahia is a first year student at Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts (USA). He grew up surrounded by his father’s small library which ignited his imagination and encouraged his passion for writing.

“I feel deeply honoured and humbled to have made the shortlist of this year’s Golden Baobab Prizes. This is indeed a big dream come true as it was such an illuminating experience writing a children’s story that spoke to my roots in gentle whispers. Thank God for Golden Baobab!”

 

Pieces of Africa by Kanengo Rebecca Diallo (Tanzania)

Oh no! I overslept. I quickly slid on my combats and ran out the door still in my bed-rumpled pajamas. There was a Jupon waiting outside the hall way to guide me to the dinning room but I just zipped past her and made my way around to the dining, popped myself down on a chair and dug in to the food.

Twelve year old Kanengo, who is the youngest person on the 2013 shortlist, lives in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, with her parents and two siblings, and is a seventh grade student at the International School of Tanganyika (IST).

 “When I received the news that I was on the shortlist, it was one of the happiest days of my life. The day before the shortlist was to come out was a very nervous one for me. I constantly bit on my nails and I could barely sleep that night. I finally got the news on Wednesday evening while doing my maths homework. So much relief and excitement washed over me that I threw my math book on the floor out of sheer joy! I was overjoyed!”

 

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Of the 180 stories submitted to this year’s Golden Baobab Prizes, 25 made it onto the longlist and 8 to the shortlist. The 8 shortlisted stories are:

The Golden Baobab Prize for Picture Books

The Princess with a Golden Voice by Philip Begho (Nigeria)

The Little Hippo by Liza Esterhuyse (South Africa)

Grandma Mimo’s Breakfast by Carol Gachiengo (Kenya)

The Golden Baobab Prize for Early Chapter Books

Seven by Sabina Mutangadura (Zimbabwe)

Rhino by Richard Street (South Africa)

What’s going on at 179 Jabulani Street? by Karen Hurt (South Africa)

The Golden Baobab Prize for Rising Writers

The Little Secret by Fego Martins Ahia (Nigeria)

Pieces of Africa by Kanengo Rebecca Diallo (Tanzania)

To read the full press release visit our press release page.

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