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Writers and Artists Selected for RadioBook Rwanda



We are thrilled to announce the writers and artists we have selected to work with for the RadioBook Rwanda imprint – an innovative publishing collaboration between Huza Press (RW), Kwani Trust (KE) and No Bindings (UK) supported by the British Council’s East Africa Arts programme. After a public call out and a rigorous selection process, the following Rwandan and Kenyan writers and artists were chosen from over 120 eligible submissions.

  • Annick La Reine Shimwa’s story ‘The Skykes are Woke’ with artwork by Jess Atieno
  • Eric Mutsinzi’s story ‘Waiting for Words’ with artwork by Nduta Kariuki
  • Jimmy Tuyiringire’s story ‘Umuhigi w’Inkuba’ with artwork by Souls (Dukuzumuremyi Hamza, Salma Seif, Ntigurirwa Shingiro Jean Marie Vianney)

  • Kwani Trust’s Otieno Owino commented ‘RadioBook Rwanda received submissions that displayed a breadth of themes, styles and preoccupations. From nonfiction personal narratives to essays on peace, nationhood and belonging as well as fiction that foregrounded the quotidian lives of characters and those that drew on Rwanda’s storytelling traditions to reimagine the mythical. The team of readers were mainly looking for stories that showed a good awareness of craft and a unique voice to tell compelling contemporary stories. The readers felt that the winning stories exemplified this.’

    On the winning stories, Owino commented: ‘With its strong character Shama, Annick La Reine Shimwa’s ‘The Skykes are Woke’ is a compelling tale of bravery and redemption. While it operates in the realm of genre fiction, it depicts a rich feminist and political agenda. While Eric Mutsinzi’s ‘Waiting for Words’ is a gripping story that explores the intimacies and intricacies of a family tested by their inability to get something they so desire.’

    Huza Press reader Dida Nibagwire, said of ‘Umuhigi w’Inkuba’: ‘Jimmy Tuyiringire’s traditional myth inspired story was beautifully written. He approached the story by bringing out all the questions that today’s Rwandan generation would ask to the older generation. His story questions the transmission of stories from generation to generations’.

    No Binding’s Lily Green commented: ‘The submissions of artwork for RadioBook Rwanda was overwhelmingly strong. So many of the works were striking enough to stand on their own and able to resist appearing second place to the chosen texts. The final selection represents a range of techniques as well as subjects. The very realistic portraits, the expressive street art and the dream-like collages will give each book a very distinct character, mirroring the uniqueness of the three selected texts.’

    On the winning artwork, she said: ‘Jess Atieno’s images are at once familiar and other worldly - incredible compositions of images with striking monochrome elements, which will look fantastic when printed. We were blown away by Nduta Kariuki’s use of colour in her portraits, the powerful expression of the people depicted, the composition, the style of the bold outlines. It is really exciting to also be working with the street art of Souls – the fact that readers in Kigali can actually visit these bold and bright murals is a very exciting prospect.’

    These writers and artists were selected by a team of ten readers from across Rwanda, Kenya and the UK. The reading team initially selected a shortlist of seven writers and seven artists who we also want to celebrate by sharing here:

    Shortlisted stories:

    Natacha Muhoza, ‘Son of Chidabe’
    Eric Mutsinzi, ‘Waiting for Words’
    Alain Patrick Irene Hirwa, ‘Nyabingi is Awake’
    Gael Rutembesa, ‘Back to Square One’
    Annick La Reine Shimwa, ‘The Skykes are Woke’
    Jimmy Tuyiringire, ‘Umuhigi w’Inkuba’
    Shakila Kamatali Umutoni, ‘Time we Talk About What we are Supposed to Talk About’

    Shortlisted artists:

    Jess Atieno
    Nduta Kariuki
    Leevan Linyerera
    Sharon Neema
    James Njoroge
    Naitiemu Nyanjom

    The six selected writers and artists will each receive £500 and their work will be published together as part of the RadioBook Rwanda imprint as pocket-sized editions with accompanying sound pieces. These print and sound publications will be produced in both English and Kinyarwanda, and launched in Kigali, Nairobi and Bristol this October.

    Congratulations to the shortlisted and selected writers and artists!

    About RadioBook Rwanda

    RadioBook Rwanda is an innovative publishing collaboration between Huza Press (RW), Kwani Trust (KE) and No Bindings (UK) supported by the British Council’s East Africa Arts programme. This collaboration will create a new imprint for Huza Press (RW) that produces short stories by contemporary Rwandan writers both as podcasts and pocket-sized books inspired by and co-edited by Kwani? (KE). The imprint will employ No Bindings (UK) innovative approaches to form and community publishing and will launch with three editions combining stories and artwork shared in community arts and library spaces and on local radio in Kigali, Nairobi and Bristol

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