Prize Details

There is a growing interest in literature published and discussed within African countries. Saraba Magazine, a leading literary publishing outfit based in Nigeria, has been at the forefront of this conversation by championing the work of emerging writers. The Saraba Manuscript Project will consolidate this mission.

Nigerian writers resident in Nigeria or elsewhere in the world are invited to submit completed fiction or non-fiction manuscripts. Please note that each writer is expected to submit only one manuscript for either the fiction or non-fiction category. The contest will produce a shortlist of ten writers, five in each category. All shortlisted manuscripts will initially be published as e-books and audio-books. In addition, Saraba Literary Trust will look to partner with one of the foremost literary publishers in Nigeria to publish the winning manuscripts from each category.

After publication, the shortlisted works will be promoted over the period of a year across major cities in Nigeria. Readings will be held at cultural centers and on university campuses. An intensive online campaign will also follow, which will feature collaborative social media interaction.

The prize includes an award of N100,000 to the winning manuscripts in the fiction and the non-fiction categories. All shortlisted entrants will receive a publishing deal from Saraba, including N100,000 advance against royalties.

Judges | Partners | Press Release

Selection Process

  • The judging process will be anonymous. Until the winners are announced, only the administrators of the prize will have access to the names of the writers.
  • A long list will be selected by the editors of the magazine. The selected manuscripts will be reviewed by the judges who will pick a shortlist of ten, and the eventual winner.
  • A schedule for publication will be developed after the winners are announced, as well as a timeline for promotional events. Only e-books and audio books are to be published immediately; print books will be published at the pace of the partnering publishers.
  • A rigorous publicity campaign—via social media and online news outlets—will follow to promote the tours and published manuscripts.
  • The judges include Noo Saro-Wiwa, Rotimi Babatunde, Eghosa Imasuen, Uzor Mazim Uzoatu, and Azafi Omoluabi-Ogosi .

 Eligibility and Submission Guidelines

  • The Manuscript Project will target Nigerian writers, who are at least 18 years of age.
  • Nigerians living abroad are welcome to enter for the prize.
  • Fiction is broadly defined, but we are looking for work with literary merit—the story, simply, must be good and well written.
  • Non-fiction will be judged based on innovation in form. We want to see projects that test the boundaries of literary nonfiction. Submissions to the prize might span memoir, biography, or history.
  • Each manuscript should range between 20,000 and 40,000 words.
  • All submissions must reach us by December 15, 2015.
  • Only electronic submissions uploaded to our online submission manager will be accepted. The online submission manager manager will be open during the submission window only (August 3 – December 15, 2015).
  • Submissions should follow these formatting guidelines: twelve-point font (including chapter titles), double-spaced text, numbered pages.
  • Note that we only accept PDF or Word files (.doc and .docx).
  • When submitting, select “Saraba Manuscript Prize” as the submission category.
  • Include the title of your manuscript in the first page.
  • Please include the following in the submission form: a cover letter containing a biographical statement and brief description of your manuscript. Include details of previous publications, such as links to websites with your work, or the full citation of your work in a print publication.
  • Only one document is required to be attached.
  • We will not accept multiple submissions.

Notification for submissions

All entrants will receive an email response after the winner has been chosen. We cannot answer any questions about the status of manuscripts.

The winners will be notified directly, and public announcement will be made on our website. All decisions are final, and the judges cannot comment on individual submissions.

For questions, or to request additional information, please write


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