A Luanshya woman, Mubanga Kalimamukwento, has won the 2019 Kalemba Short Story Prize for her short story, Inswa.

The Chair of the 2019 Kalemba Judging Panel, Nigerian writer and professor of English, Ainehi Edoro, announced Kalimamukwento, as the winner of the USD1000 prize awarded to the best work of original and unpublished short fiction written in English by a Zambian.

Narrated in the first person, Inswa is a coming-of-age story of a teen protagonist initiated into sexual awakening by her best friend, Wongani, while being pushed into premature adulthood by her parents.

According to a statement issued by KSSP Administrator Sampa Kangwa-Wilkie, Tuesday, Edoro praised the story as resonant and gripping.

“The author’s exploration of desire is nuanced, the prose is precise, but evocative. The writer captures the intensity and range of emotions that make such intimacies feel true and valid even in worlds where they are perceived as transgressive,” said Edoro.

Kalimamukwento is a lawyer and writer whose first novel, The Mourning Bird, won the 2019 Dinaane Debut Fiction Award. Her creative nonfiction and short stories have appeared in or are forthcoming in The Advocates for Human Rights Minnesota (USA), The Dreamers Creative Writing Magazine (Canada), Two Sisters Writing and Publishing (USA), The Eunoia Review (Singapore), The Best of Africa Magazine (Zambia), The Airgonaut (USA), SyncityNG (Nigeria), The Menteur (France), The Mark Literary Review (USA) and Overland (Australia).

“I’ve always been an avid reader of mostly African Literature, and my work is informed greatly by what I absorb. I especially love Ellen Banda-Aaku, NoViolet Bulawayo, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Kopano Matlwa, Lesley Nneka Arimah, Panashe Chigumadzi, and Tsitsi Dangarembga” says Kalimamukwento, a native of Lunshya Town, and 2018/2019 Hubert Humphrey Fellow.

Other top and shortlisted writers are Jumani Clarke, Binary; Fiske Nyirongo, Pain By Any Other Name; Lucy Zulu Simuzingili, The Masks; Lydia Ngoma, All To Love; and Mirriam Lusambo, Career Battle.

The Kalemba Prize in its second year is a home-grown initiative celebrating Zambian writing. It is funded and administered by Ukusefya WORDS, publishers of the national bestselling book, Insoselo na Mapinda, a collection of more than 700 Bemba proverbs and their meanings translated in English.

The judging panel was constituted by author Mulenga Kapwepwe, Award winning Poet Kayo Chingoyi, Sunday Times Editor Austin Kaluba and Chaired by Edoro.

The 2020 Kalemba Prize will open later this year.