Prize Details (Nonfiction Category)

Following the close of submissions to the Saraba Manuscript Prize, we will like to thank writers who sent in submissions and everyone who helped us publicize the project.

While we received 74 fiction manuscripts, we only received 3 submissions for the nonfiction category.

It became apparent to us that more work needed to be done to encourage long-form nonfiction writing by Nigerian writers. Since this project is dedicated overall to supporting emerging writers regardless of genre, we have decided to reframe the context in which we can work with writers who are intent on producing nonfiction manuscripts.

Between February 1 and March 312016, we are requesting proposals for nonfiction manuscripts on a writing project to be completed by August 2016. The writer of each successful proposal will be awarded the sum of 200,000 naira advance against royalties: 100,000 naira as a pre-completion commission and another 100,000 naira upon commission. 4 writers will be commissioned for the nonfiction project.

Upon completion of the manuscript, each writer will receive feedback by a writer established in the field (including Noo Saro-Wiwa and Maxim Uzoatu), after which the manuscript will be edited and published.

We expect to commission writers aiming to work on manuscripts of a minimum of 10,000 words and a maximum of 25,000.

Our bias is for creative nonfiction work—memoirs, biographies, and reportage. We are keen on quality writing, regardless of what format it is presented, that is reflective of contemporary Nigeria.


To submit a nonfiction manuscript proposal, please read the following guidelines:

  1. Send a one-page cover letter containing a one-paragraph biographical statement and brief (2-4 sentences) description of the project. Please include any previous publications in the biographical statement. The cover letter should be single-spaced.
  2. Include a maximum two-page overview of the project, including a description of what research needs to be undertaken, if any.
  3. A minimum of 10 pages (2,500 words) writing sample of a recent nonfiction work (published or unpublished). All required materials should be included as the initial pages of your manuscript file (sent as a .docx or .pdf file)
  4. Include your name and contact information only in the Submittable page and not anywhere in your proposal.
  5. All proposals will be judged blind by Saraba’s nonfiction editors, and confirmed by the mentors. There will be no longlist or shortlist; commissioned writers will be announced by the end of May 2016.
  6. To submit a proposal for the nonfiction project, please select “Saraba Manuscript Prize Nonfiction Category.”
  7. Previous guidelines apply.

All enquiries should be directed to the prize administrator, Olaoluwa Akinoluwa, o.akinloluwa@sarabamag.com.


Key Dates for the Saraba Manuscript Prize

  1. February 29: Announcement of longlist (fiction category)
  2. March 31: Submissions of proposals closes (nonfiction category)
  3. April 30: Announcement of shortlist (fiction category)
  4. May 31st: Announcement of commissioned writers (nonfiction category)