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    Great article! Indeed, where do all the stories go? Because there are, without a doubt, many untold stories from Africa.

    The other question that rings: where do the submitted stories go? The ones that don’t make the long or shortlists. The non-winning stories. What happens to them?

    I say this, perhaps as a case of sour grapes, having submitted every year, sometimes up to 5 stories, passionately written (of course every writer imagines their story is the best, please bear with my biases). Every year, I see the number of submitted stories and I know I contributed to it. Every year (well maybe not every) I see an article wondering why Africans don’t write, why only 180 stories (in the case of 2013) were received.

    Every year, I hold my breath when they announce the winners and every year, I don’t make the cut. Every year I ask myself if I’ll keep submitting and every year I wonder if perhaps I should wake up and smell the coffee. Perhaps the universe is telling me writing for children is not my thing, even though I love to – with all my heart.

    Do I write to win an award? Certainly not; but it would be awfully nice to, even just once; to have my work validated, to be among the winners that I read about.
    So as some wonder why not enough stories are submitted for the prize, spare a thought for the ones that are; and what can be done to revive the ones that show promise. The people out there that actually took the time, energy and effort to ‘imagine’, put to paper and submit. The ones that invested some (even if misguided) hope that they could win.

    I realize this post is a tad bit ‘immature’… Don’t I know the rules of the game? Did I not sign up for this knowing there can only be a certain number of winners? Don’t I know the hundreds of people (in history and today) who tried (in various fields) X number of times before they succeeded? Do I have illusions about my own writing?
    Yet knowing these doesn’t make the sting of discouragement any less.

    So this venting post is dedicated to the other 120 authors that didn’t make the cut and many others who will participate in future that no one will ever hear about.

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    Bontle Senne

    One of the major parts of being a writer is dealing with rejection. It is the only constant in this game and I have had my fair share too.

    There are many ways to share your work with children without winning an award for it. Read your stories at libraries, children’s homes, primary schools or pediatric wards. Start a blog and start posting them online. Share them on your Facebook page. Start a reading club with children in your area. Find a local NGO that promotes reading or education and investigate whether your stories could be used in their work.

    But above all else, keep writing, keep looking for opportunities to be a better writer, keep supporting other African writers and keep loving what you do. Even if there are never any prizes or recognition, write because you love it. Holding onto that kind of passion is rare in life. Celebrate it.

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    Thank you for your encouragement and great ideas.

    I have since discovered the African Storybook.org (openly licensed) who are more than happy to publish children’s stories. I suppose the non-winning stories like mine could be directed (donated) to noble causes such as these.

    Meanwhile bravo on getting shortlisted. Your persistence paid off in the end. Cheering all of you on, and may the best (wo)man win. [Though I secretly hope it will be a Kenyan to bring the trophy home (For once!):-).]

    The rest of us will roll up our sleeves and try again next year, and the year after…(till kingdom come I guess!) and if we never win anything, that will be okay :-).

    I had submitted another comment to this post, it seems it wasn’t published. Hope this one will be. Cheers!


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