Global Black Women’s Non-Fiction Manuscript Prize Opens for Applications

Bibi Bakare-Yusuf, Publishing Director, Cassava Republic Press

The Cassava Republic Press, a publishing company based in Abuja, Nigeria, that aims to bring high-quality fiction and non-fiction books to a global audience, is now accepting applications for its Global Black Women’s Non-Fiction Manuscript Prize. This prize is open to unpublished Black women from anywhere in the world.

As part of its mission as a global Black publishing house connecting Africa and the African diaspora, Cassava Republic Press announced the launch of its inaugural $20,000 Global Black Women’s Non-Fiction Manuscript Prize dedicated to exceptional works by Black women (cis, trans and genderqueer).

The prize represents a first in the world of black women’s letters, not only by its global scope, but also its non-fiction focus, and its generous prize value.

Bibi Bakare-Yusuf, Publishing Director, Cassava Republic Press noted that the organization takes immense pride in launching the Global Black Women’s Non-Fiction Manuscript Prize as the group takes steps to addressing a long-overlooked gap in the literary world.

The prize builds on the long tradition of black women writers as theorists and intellectuals, and provides a platform for a range of writers from Africa and the Afro-diaspora to follow in the footsteps of luminaries such as Anna Julia Cooper, Amy Jacques Garvey, Claudia Jones, Noni Jabavu, Audre Lorde, Ellen Khuzwayo, May Ayim, Toni Morrison and Bell Hooks, who have come before.

The organisation will publish and champion black women writers who bridge the gap between “creativity” and “theory” with work that is both rigorous and beautiful, creative and thoughtful.

It also welcomes submissions from academics writing for a mainstream audience. Its goal is to amplify and unearth the critical ideas that might otherwise remain unpublished or confined to academic circles or smaller audiences. 

In addition, it seeks creative critical writing and knowledge-making for a broad audience, while interested in writing that will challenge and excite its readers.

Straightforward memoirs are not accepted but manuscripts that incorporate theory with personal essays/experiences within a broader context are welcome.

The Global Black Women’s Non-Fiction Manuscript Prize winner will receive a $20,000 advance and a publishing contract with Cassava Republic Press.  

Two runner-up writers will each receive a $5000 advance and publication by Cassava Republic Press bringing the total prize value to $30,000.

The manuscript prize is open to black women writers aged 18 and over living anywhere in the world.

Applicants are required to submit five sample chapters and a pitch letter, which should include a synopsis and a full outline of all chapters. Longlisted authors will then be given a week to submit full manuscripts. 

Submissions are accepted via Caassava Republic Press’s website where further information and submission guidelines can be found.

Submission of applications closes at 23:59 GMT on March 31, 2024. 

The manuscript prize is made possible by the support of Alitheia Capital, the largest woman-owned impact investing private equity firm in Africa, and Open Society Foundation Africa.