The Intwasa Short Story Writing competition has attracted response, especially for the Yvonne Vera Award which has more than 100 entries.
Intwasa festival director Raisedon Baya told NewsDay that the senior category of the Yvonne Vera Award received 104 entries.
He said last year, there were less than 30 writers who entered their essays for the award.
“The number of entrants is amazing and this proves beyond doubt that that there is abundant creative writing talent in Zimbabwe waiting to be discovered and published,” said Baya.
He said the overall entries for the short story competition for all categories stood at 202.
Of these, 84 entries came from women writers while 38 are for the English junior category and 40 entries are for the Ndabezinhle Sigogo Award (senior) category as well as 22 for the junior category of the award.
“Of interest is the fact that entries came from first-time writers, upcoming writers as well as established writers. The entries came from locally-based writers and Zimbabwean writers in the Diaspora,” he said.
The Ndabezinhle Sigogo Award for writers writing in Ndebele was introduced this year and Baya said their hope was that this category would grow with each edition of the competition.
He said a shortlist of the best 15 stories per category would be announced at the end of this month.
“These shortlisted writers will be invited to a series of writing workshops to be held during the festival. The workshops will be facilitated by renowned writers from both within and outside Zimbabwe.”
The winner of the competition will walk away with $500 for the senior categories and $200 for the juniors.
The two awards are named after two of Bulawayo’s top writers who are both late.
Vera was arguably one of the best writers in English to emerge in the country, while Sigogo was prolific Ndebele writer with more than 24 publications to his name.
“The awards seek to honour their names and also celebrate their writing talent and achievements. They are also a way of celebrating rising talent and assisting those that want to follow the late writers’ footsteps,” said Baya.
Initially the response to the writing competition was lukewarm and organisers had to extend the deadline for entries to the end of the month, a move that has brought positive results.