Once again Short Story Day Africa will be celebrated in June (the month with the shortest day of the year in Southern Africa- 21 June) and you’re likely asking yourself- “How you can get involved?” Here are some of the things you might do to celebrate this lovely fiction form.

1. Enter a writing competition
There are writing competitions for every age group: adults, teens, big kids and small kids- so there is NO excuse!

Adult Compeition
This year’s competition is for speculative fiction: horror, fantasy, dystopian, sci-fi, alternative history and magical realism around the theme “Terra Incognita” (Unchartered Worlds).
The word count is 3000-5000 words.
The deadline for submission is 30 June, 2014, with the shortlist announced in September and the winners in October. All long listed stories will be included in an anthology.
First prize is R2000, and a writing course from All About Writing. It is open to African citizens, 18 years or older.
The story should be unpublished. They have strict formatting rules so check them out on their website (http://shortstorydayafrica.org/write-2014-2/terra-incognita/)

Competition for Teens and Kids
There’s also a short story competition for teens and kids. The theme is “African Science Fiction and Fantasy”.
From their website it says: “Envision Africa – past, present or future – as a land where werewolves prowl the streets of Lagos and great herds of unicorns migrate across the Serengeti.
Have aliens landed on Table Mountain? What really lurks beneath the waters of the Okavango?
Tell us a tales of the pirates that sail the Indian Ocean in dhows and of the mermaids that tempt them to watery graves. Step out of reality and into your imagination. Anything is possible in a brave new world.” Both the teen and kids competitions are around this theme.
The teen competition is open to anyone between 14-17 yrs old and living in Africa. The stories should be 1000- 2500 words.
There are two categories for the kids’ competitions: children under 9 years old, and children 10 -13 years old. Stories for children under 9 years old should be under 900 words.
Children 10-13 year olds should write stories between 500- 1500 words.

For all of the kids competitions email your entry to kids@shortstorydayafrica.org with the subject line Brave New World or post it to Short Story Day Africa, c/o Beautement, PO Box 2392, Mossel Bay, South Africa 6500: DO NOT SEND BY REGISTERED MAIL. At the top of your entry, put your name, age, telephone number and email address (if you have one), where we can contact you and your postal address. The deadline for entries is 30 June, 2014. First prize is a R500 book voucher for the winner and a R1000 book voucher for the winner’s school.

2. How about running a Workshop at a Nearby School
Do you love reading or writing short stories? Why don’t you think about running a short story workshop at your nearby school?
Maybe you could read and discuss some short stories. Or write some short stories. You might even help the students to write short stories for one of the competitions above.
If you do decide to run a workshop, send the information to the Short Story Day Africa folks so they can put it up on their website, they’d love to hear from you.
You can send the details of your workshop to kids@shortstorydayafrica.org. Also on their website you can download their workshop pack.
(Find it here- http://shortstorydayafrica.org/kids/kids-writing-worksheets/)

3. Read some short stories
Short stories are a great way to get a short shot of fiction when you don’t have much time. Here are some places to read short stories online:
• Kalahari Review: http://www.kalaharireview.com/
• African Writing: http://www.african-writing.com/
• Granta: http://www.granta.com/
• Brittle Paper: http://brittlepaper.com/

Or maybe you want to listen to some short stories, something I love to do. You can find podcasts of famous writers reading other famousewriters’ short stories at The New Yorker Fiction Podcast: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/podcast.

Or do you prefer buying some short story collections? Look out for our home-grown writers such as Wame Molefhe’s Go Tell the Sun or Collector of Treasures by Bessie Head.
Celebrate the short story in June along with the rest of the continent!

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