Introducing The Hope Prize Shortlist

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Ubwali Literary Magazine in partnership with Shenandoah has announced the shortlist for the inaugural Hope Prize. The writers and their shortlisted pieces are as follows

  • Mutinta Nanchengwa, for “How it Should Be”
  • Mukandi Siame, for “Like Mother”
  • Anna Zgambo, for “3 Poems”
  • Gerry Sikazwe, for “5 Poems”
  • Emily Pensulo, for “The Mofwe Tree”
The shortlist
The Ubwali prose and poetry editorial team, from L to R: Mbozi Haimbe, Fiske Nyirongo, Akal Mohan, and Mubanga Kalimamukwento

This finalists were selected by Ubwali Literary Magazine‘s prose and poetry editorial team: Mbozi Haimbe, Fiske Serah Nyirongo, and Akal Mohan. The founder, Mubanga Kalimamukwento, will select the winner. 

Award-winning writer Mubanga Kalimamukwento started Ubwali Literary Magazine earlier in 2024. According to her: “The idea of the magazine has lived in my mind for a long time, at least for as long as I have been submitting stories, so 6-ish years. The starting point was how few Zambian stories I found in the journals I was reading and yearning to be part of the ecosystem that could contribute to changing that. In hindsight, a lot of my creative writing work decisions over the last few years have been teaching me what I needed to learn for Ubwali Literary Magazine to be born.”

She continued: “Time to focus on the project was difficult to carve out, though, so I didn’t know when exactly it would come to fruition until late last year when I was at a creative writing fellowship in Sharjah. Once time opened up, the magazine came together quickly. The editors, who shared my vision for Zambian literature were on board, and so were the writers we solicited for our first issue, which was so helpful in keeping my nerves at bay. Beyond that, I also had a lot of help from the literary family I have built over the years.”

Finally, she added: “So many people listened, guided, and hand-held, and I am a big believer in gratitude, so I want to make sure I thank them all––Ukamaka Olisakwe at Isele, Dr. Philathia Bolton at The Africa Institute, Frances Ogamba & Kasimma at the Idembeka Creative Writing Workshop, Kelsey Trom at the Tusculum Review, and my mentors, Dr Tabeth Masengu and Professor Sheila O’Connor were very instrumental cheerleaders. My time at Doek! under the keen eye of Rémy Ngamije over the last three years, as well as my time at the Water~Stone Review, also taught me invaluable lessons about the day-to-day work it takes to run a magazine.”

The Hope Prize is an offshoot of the magazine, named for Mubanga’s mother, who loved and taught literature in Zambia until her death in 1998. Her name was Hope. Mubanga believes that the prize not only presents a bigger opportunity for the winner to be rewarded financially for their work but also the chance to showcase their work to a bigger audience.

The Hope Prize was birthed with help from Beth Staples, the Editor-in-Chief at Shenandoah where Mubanga was completing an editorial fellowship at the time. Through Beth, Shenandoah supports the prize with its prize money and re-publication opportunity for the winning author.