By Abdi Ali
Published March 23, 2017
A prize for African artists has been unveiled in memory of a former head of a European cultural agency in West Africa who perished in a terrorist attack in 2016.
The award, known as Henrike Grohs Prize for African Artists, and worth €20000, the initiative of Goethe-Institut (GI) and the family of Henrike Grohs, the former director of GI in Ivory Coast who died alongside 14 other people in a terrorist attack on March 13, 2016 in the western African country’s Grand-Bassam area. It shall be awarded annually to one or several practitioners in performance, screen and visual arts and interdisciplinary fields.
Only artists who live and work in Africa, are not older than 40 years, produce high quality work and participate in partnerships that impart knowledge and skills to other artists are eligible for the prize.
Goethe-Institut says recipients of the award will be chosen by a jury made up of recognised African representatives of the various creative sectors.
Johannes Ebert, the secretary-general of GI, says the award honours the lifetime achievements of Henrike Grohs who died while doing what she lived for: supporting African artists.
Saying the award aims at continuing Grohs’s cause of supporting African artists, Ebert says “Henrike Grohs was a colleague who stood for the unifying power of culture. In her work at the Goethe-Institut, she was committed to supporting the contribution that African artists make to their communities, to the continent and to global discourse. We would like to honour this contribution with the Henrike Grohs Prize and reward outstanding African artists.”
Meanwhile, the call for submission for the 4th annual Short Story Day Africa (SSDA) competition for fiction opens on June 1, 2017.
Only African citizens, permanent residents in Africa and Africans in the Diaspora may participate in the competition that considers fiction written in English and in any genre that is between 3000 and 5000 words long.
“W’re looking for innovative short fiction that explores identity, especially (but not limited to) the themes of gender identity and sexuality.We hope to see work that seeks to break and redefine the strictures put onto our identities, as individuals and as peoples. Fiction that looks beyond the boundaries of expectation, and peers into the truest definitions of ourselves,” SSDA says on its shortstorydayafrica.org website.
The overall winner will receive US$800 while the second and prize winner will receive US$200 and US$100 cash prizes, respectively.
SSDA lists the following as winners in its previous editions:
- Okwiri Oduor from Kenya whose story, “My Father’s Head”, won her the 2014 Caine Prize for African Writing (2013)
- Diane Awerbuck, a South African novelist whose book, Gardening at Night, won the 2004 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for the Best First Book (Africa and the Caribbean) (2014)
- Cat Hellisen, a South African-born writer of fantasy for adults and children (2015), and
- Sibongile Fisher, a published poet and writer from Johannesburg, South Africa (2016).
The deadline for story submission is July 31, 2017.