The Intwasa Short Story competition enters its 10th year this year, 2014. The competition which was inaugurated in the first year of the festival and is an annual literary event seeking to promote original creative writing talent in English. The competition also seeks to promote Zimbabwean narratives from Zimbabwean writers be they in Zimbabwe or living in the diaspora. In 2011 the award for the winner was named Yvonne Vera Award, after the late Dr. Yvonne Vera. Dr. Yvonne Vera was literary genius who whose works include Why Don’t We Curve Other Animals? Nehanda, Without a Name, and Butterfly Burning. The Yvonne Vera award carries a $500 cash prize.

The rules of the competition are as follows:
- There is no particular theme
- Entries must be written in English
- Entries should be previously unpublished
- Only one entry per person
- All work must be original
- Entries must be typed.
- Maximum words are 3000 words.
- The competition is open to all Zimbabwe citizens and residents
- Entries must be submitted by June 30, 2014
- Late entries will not be accepted.
- Only the short-listed candidates will be personally notified

The Intwasa Short Story Competition is one of the very few literary writing competitions in Zimbabwe and continues to encourage and promote the original Zimbabwean narrative. Last year the competition was won by Sipho Mpofu’s A Balance of Power. Each year the standard of writing continues to improve. He lives in Bulawayo.

Here are some previous winners of competition:
Thabisani Ndlovu was the first winner of the competition. At the time Thabisani was a literature teacher at Falcon College. He describes the effects of his story ‘Cold Careless Hands’ winning the competition as “reviving my interest in creative writing and being a challenge to produce even more better work.”
Since winning the competition, Dr. Ndlovu has been awarded a PhD in African Literature in English from Witwatersrand University and is now Deputy Director of the International Humans Rights Exchange there.

Byron Rheam won the competition in 2006 with her story “The Reunion”. Which concerns a woman who is consumed with jealousy at a party where she thinks she sees someone she went to school with who appears to be more successful and beautiful. Winning Intwasa, ‘gave me the confidence to carry on writing. I enjoy writing short stories and it’s great to know that others might also enjoy them.
Byron has had short stories in many Zimbabwean anthologies and her first novel ‘The September Sun’, published by amaBooks in Zimbabwe and Parthian Books in the United Kingdom, won Best First book at the 2010 Zimbabwe Book Publishers Association Awards and the e-book recently topped the ‘Best Seller’ list for books sold in the United Kingdom on Amazon. Byron has a BA and MA in English, and presently works as a teacher of English, in Ndola Zambia.

Novuyo Rosa Tshuma won the competition in 2009, which had been then renamed the Yvonne Vera Award, with ‘You in Paradise’, about the peculiarities of being an immigrant in Johannesburg. The story is also featured in her recently published novella and a story collection with Kwela South Africa, Shadows. She comments, “Winning the Yvonne Vera Award was a major boost to my writing confidence. I was young – 21 – and still in the process of formulating my writing vice. It motivated me and to see where the story goes”.
The other winners are Violette Kee-Tui with her story Tattered Cloth. The story explored interracial relationship and had the judges singing a lot of praises, especially about its use of language and imagery. Violette Kee-Tui is a former editor of the Edgars Store’s Club Magazine. Mbonisi Pilani Ncube is also another winner. He took the award in 2012 with his story Chanting Shadows. Mbonisi Pilani Ncube lives and writes from South Africa. The other winners are Chaltone Tshabangu and Bongani Ncube

Writers are invited to submit their stories to:
403 LAPF House
Jason Moyo Street
8th Avenue
Email: or


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