Re-imagined! is a global online storytelling contest inviting African writers, poets, playwrights and journalists to re-invent and update the African folktale for a new millennium.

In keeping with the tradition of African folk tales, the challenge is to develop new narratives that speak of issues that are fundamental to Africa’s development - from corruption, to environmental degradation and religious radicalization - in a way that is unconventional but true to our past traditions of folktale and oral storytelling.

The stories should contain life lessons that are relevant for both young and old, however writers are invited to be as inventive and disruptive as they wish in terms of theme, form, language, characters, imagery and context.

Whilst the first edition of the contest will cater only for those writing in English, subsequent editions will seek to promote entries in African languages, as well as in French, Portuguese, Spanish and Arabic.

The aims of the contest are multiple:
  • To revive the rapidly dying age-old tradition of sharing wisdom through stories by re-adapting them for a modern context
  • To create more opportunities for African writers to get published
  • To contribute to a modern archive of stories by Africans writers
  • To influence public debate and include alternative voices to the traditional news agenda through stories that tackles issues critical to African development
  • To make available the stories to as broad an audience as possible through both traditional and new media platforms
  • To invite storytellers to perform the stories on stage, in schools and in communities across the world
  • To train teachers on storytelling techniques
  • To find new ways of encouraging communities to talk through difficult issues and heal trauma through the use of storytelling
  • To create a video archive of the storytelling performances

A New Anthology of Modern African Tales

Following a two-month entry period, an editorial panel, headed by Nigerian author Chuma Nwokolo, will select the top twenty five entries, which will then be:

  1. Published in the first ever Illustrated Anthology on Modern African Folktales.
  2. Serialised in several newspapers around the continent

Storytelling Performances

A key component of the Re-Imagined contest is reviving African storytelling customs. Storytellers will perform the stories selected for the anthology across the continent in schools, literary festivals and communities. The stories will also be used as part of an art therapy programme as a way to understand and help communities resolve the deep divisions that are at the root of modern day conflicts and social unrest and inequalities. By creating safe spaces that use a traditional art form that is familiar across communities in Africa, stories can help communities not only reclaim the stories of their pasts, but also to heal traumas and re-imagine their futures.


Maïmouna Jallow

Contest Curator

Storyteller, Writer & Journalist

Chuma Nwokolo

Contest Judge

Lawyer, Writer, Publisher and Founder

Okey Ndibe

 Contest Judge


Dr. Lizzy Attree

Contest Judge

Director of the Caine Prize for African Writing

Roger Jenkins

Contest Judge

Professional Storyteller

Mara Menzies

Contest Judge

Storyteller and Storymaker

Muthoni Garland


Editor and Writer

Linda Musita


Editor and Writer

Nduta Waweru





  • Your story must be between 500 - 1500 words.
  • The deadline for submissions is midnight (GMT) on May 20th 2016
  • The contest is opened to both publish and unpublished writers
  • A maximum of two stories per author will be considered in any one year.
  • All stories should be written in the folk tale tradition* (See Guidelines in FAQ's)
  • All stories should carry a moral message.
  • Submit your story only through the online entry form.
  • Only work in English is eligible.
  • Only African authors are eligible. Note: An African writer’ is taken to mean someone who was born in Africa, or who is a national of an African country, or who has a parent who is African by birth or nationality
Please note that works, which do not conform to the criteria, will not be considered.


The author agrees that by submitting an entry to Re-Imagined, that if the story is shortlisted, permission to reproduce the story in the annual Re-Imagined 2016 anthology is automatically given. The author agrees that his work will be edited by a professional editor and that he/she will work closely with this person to effect timely changes if required.

Key Dates

  • March 19th 2016 – Contest Launch

  • March 20th 2016 – Opens for Entries

  • June 15th 2016 – Deadline for Entries

  • August – Publication of Anthology of Modern Tales



Illustrators are also invited to send samples of their work. Once the final stories for publication have been selected, we will commission original work from illustrators whose work we like.


Where will my story be used?

If selected by the independent panel of judges, your story will by published in an Anthology of Modern Tales and online. It may also be used for performances by storytellers around the world. By submitting your story, you give permission for use.

Can I submit published work?


Can I submit work only published online?


Do you accept entries via post?


Do you accept entries via post?

No, please use the entry form provided

What if my story isn’t in English?

Sorry but at this stage we cannot engage translators. If you wish you translate your story and send it in English we will accept it.Whilst the first edition of the contest will cater only for those writing in English, subsequent editions will seek promote entries in African languages, as well as in French, Portuguese, Spanish and Arabic.

Does my story have to be fictional?

Yes. It’s a folktale!

What is a folktale?

Folktales were passed from one generation to the next by word of mouth, this is called oral tradition. Folktales were made to explain the world around people. Folktales should have a moral message, these should be inferred by the reader rather than stated. Folktales often have: elements of magic or supernatural powers, animals with human characteristics, trickery, good and bad characters that are pitted against each other. Many things happen in 3s. Stories should include setting, character and a problem. Conflicts are resolved through kindness, courage or intelligence. We encourage you to experiment, so feel free to push the boundaries!

How long should my story be?

Between 500 – 1500 words

What is an African writer?

An African writer is taken to mean someone who was born in Africa, or who is a national of an African country, or who has a parent who is African by birth or nationality.

Can I submit more than one story?

You can submit a maximum of two stories

Do you accept entries via post?


When is the deadline to apply?

Entries open on March 20th 2016 and close on June 15th 2016 at midnight (GMT)

Will I get paid?


Who should I contact if I am having trouble submitting online?

Email the project curator on:positivelyafricanmedia@gmail.com


Press Release: Nairobi to host Storytelling Festival

The Flying Armchair: Preserving Traditional Tales


For interview requests please contact:

Maimouna Jallow:


+254 701572757

Judy Waguma


+254 (0) 722 882 257


If you have an African folktale or two that you’ve collected, we’d be happy to share it here. Please send it to us!


Read and Watch our Stories



About Positively African

Positively African is a media and events company that celebrates the rich cultures of Africa through fun-filled, educational and inspiring multi-disciplinary artistic events, including Storytelling Festivals, Poetry Nights, a monthly Writing Club. Positively African launched Re-Imagined in March 2016, a series of events and performances which includes re-adaptations of classic African novels for the stage; an online contest inviting African writers to re-imagine the traditional folktale; performances in schools; performances in conflict affected communities and refugee camps to engage communities in discussions around social and political issues that affect them, using stories as the kick off point for candid discussions and community healing. The series will also see the publication of an Anthology of Modern African Tales and much more more.  


We need you! Following the publication of the anthology, we’d like do a performance tour of the stories. If you’d like to donate to the project, kindly contact us on: positivelyafricanmedia@gmail.com


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