FAQ for The Golden Baobab Prizes for Literature

  •          What if I am not an African citizen but have lived in Africa for a long time?

You must be a citizen of an African state to be considered for the Golden Baobab Prizes. All winning and longlisted entrants will be asked to submit a photocopy of their state passport (or comparable document) to confirm their citizenship to an African country. 

  •          What are the judges looking out for?

The Golden Baobab Prizes are looking for stories that will be loved by children for many years to come. A winning story is one that immediately stands out and is imaginative, refreshing and well written. The judges look for well-written (excellent storyline, character development and plot) children’s stories with African content that will captivate children. 

  •          The GBP states that all "entries must be the unaided work of the entrant." Does this mean we cannot ask someone to check the grammar, punctuation or give us their opinion about the story?

The entrant must be the one who wrote the story fully. That is, you cannot submit a story written by someone else. But once your story is written you can by all means ask someone to read it and assist with edits.

  •          Are writers from francophone countries allowed to submit stories to the competition?

We are currently accepting stories written only in English. So long as writers are African citizens and are submitting stories in English, we will accept stories from Francophone countries.

  •          What is unique about the Golden Baobab Prizes for Literature?

The Golden Baobab Prizes are the only annual pan-African literature prizes that inspire African authors to create and submit unpublished stories targeting readers below the age of 12 years. Currently, there are two Golden Baobab Prizes for Literature: for the best picture book, and for the best early chapter book. Additionally, Golden Baobab's publishing sister company connects winning and longlisted authors to leading publishers across Africa and internationally. All the above are unique to Golden Baobab.

  •          Are children’s opinions taken into consideration when choosing the winners?

The Golden Baobab Prizes evaluation handbook is designed to guide our readers and judges to identify stories that will captivate the imaginations of African children. We also select children to serve as judges in certain years of the Prize. 

  •          Can the same story be entered into more than one prize cycle if amendments have been made?

Stories previously entered to any of the Golden Baobab Prizes cannot be resubmitted. Golden Baobab reserves the right to disqualify resubmitted stories. 

  •          Are previous winners eligible to submit new stories in subsequent prize cycles?

Previous winners of any of the Golden Baobab Prizes cannot re-enter the competition. Once a Golden Baobab winner, always a Golden Baobab winner. This is a new rule for the Prizes.

  •          Are the winning stories published?

Golden Baobab assures the publication of all winning stories. For longlisted and shortlisted stories, there is no guarantee. However, for two calendar years following the announcement of the Prize, Golden Baobab commits to promoting all longlisted and shortlisted stories to leading African and international publishers to secure attractive publishing deals for our authors. Outstanding stories that do not win and are not longlisted may also be picked up for promotion to publishers.

  •          Have the Golden Baobab Prizes undergone some changes? 

The modifications that were made to the 2013 Golden Baobab Prizes for Literature have been maintained for subsequent years. The Golden Baobab Prizes remain committed to inspiring African talent to create captivating stories for children. The current prize structure enables us to achieve this mission better. 

  •          Should my picture book submission be illustrated?

No, the Golden Baobab Prize for Picture Books requires only a text submission. Stories with illustrations will be disqualified from the Prize. 

  •          Can two authors submit a story they have written together?

Golden Baobab only accepts stories written by single authors. If two writers have co-authored a children's story, we encourage each of those authors to utilize their talents to write two separate stories for consideration.

  •          How will I know that you have received my story?

 Once stories are received, entrants will be notified with a receipt of submission via email.  

  •          What happens if I submit my story after the submission deadline?

Stories received after the submission deadline of a given year will be automatically forwarded for consideration of the following prize cycle provided it meets that year's requirements.

  •          Does Golden Baobab publish the winning stories or is it up to the Prize recipients to get their stories published?

African Bureau Stories, a publishing sister company of Golden Baobab, is dedicated to getting our winning and longlisted stories published in multiple countries. We provide connections to a number of top children’s publishers throughout Africa and around the globe. Entries that do not win or are not longlisted but are outstanding to our judges and readers, may be invited by African Bureau for publication. 

  •          Can I submit different stories to the different Prizes?

Eligible entrants may submit up to three stories per Prize. So an entrant may decide, for example, to submit 3 stories to the Picture Book Prize and 3 stories to the Early Chapter Book Prize. Each story submitted must be different. 

  •          What is the judging procedure for the Golden Baobab Prizes?

Stories submitted to the Golden Baobab Prizes go through a very rigorous selection process. Initially each submission is first read by up to three 'readers' - volunteer literary enthusiasts intentionally selected by Golden Baobab and guided by an in-depth evaluation manual and scoring rubric. All scores are averaged and the stories are then ranked based on this. The top 10 stories for each Prize continue to the next round to be evaluated by the prestigious Golden Baobab judging panel. The panel selects a winner from the top ten submissions for each Prize, and designates a shortlist of no more than three stories per category that deserve honorable mention if they see fit. All stories submitted to the Golden Baobab Prize are judged blindly - that is to say, readers and judges only have access to a submission's title and manuscript. The authors' identities, including name, age, gender and nationality, are not revealed to anyone in the judging process until the winners have been selected.

The members of Golden Baobab Prize’s Reading and Judging committee come from diverse racial, class, employment, gender, age, geographic, language and cultural backgrounds. They represent a very broad range of perspectives, and all have one thing in common. They are children's literature enthusiasts.

  •          How do we get to read the stories shortlisted and the winners of the past entries?

Please find the story Mr Goop by Ivor Hartmann - Winner of The Golden Baobab Prize Best Story for ages 12-15 years, on the following link: http://www.african-writing.com/seven/ivorhartmann.htm