The “Short Sharp Stories Award” for South African short-story fiction is made each year by the National Arts Festival.

An anthology of selected stories is published annually and the theme set for writers differs from year to year.

The winning stories, selected from the stories to be published, by a panel of independent judges, are announced at an annual launch event at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. It is the aim of this award to encourage, support, and showcase established and emerging South African writing talent. The Award is curated by Joanne Hichens.


The competition is open to South African citizens and residents of South Africa, who are 18 years of age and older

  • Stories must be previously unpublished fiction
  • Stories must be written in English
  • Stories are to be between 3000 and 5000 words in length (which will enable submission to the Caine Prize)
  • Only one story per author is to be considered in any one year
  • The story must fall within the bounds of the brief provided on
  • A cash prize of R20 000 (twenty thousand rand) will be awarded for BEST STORY
  • A cash prize of R5 000 (five thousand Rand) will be awarded for BEST NEW VOICE
  • Further cash prizes may be awarded at the discretion of the judges.
  • Selected writer(s) will be invited to read at, and to participate in events at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown in 2017. Transport and accommodation will be paid for winning writer(s), provided they are resident in South Africa.
  • Copyright of stories will remain with the writers, although writers may be requested to publish in partnering online and print media.
  • An independent panel of judges will choose the winning stories from the short-list of twenty-five stories
  • While under consideration stories are not to be submitted elsewhere
  • Each entry must be accompanied with a signed entry form
  • Entries may not be submitted under pseudonyms
  • Closing date for submission of stories is 30 November 2016.
  • Short-listed writers will be notified by email by 31 March 2017.
  • Authors whose stories are selected will be expected to submit a good quality head and shoulders photograph suitable for publication in the book.
  • The judge’s decisions will be final.

Note that stories will be edited by author and editor Joanne Hichens, in association with the writers, in order to ensure a publication of the highest standard.


By email to
Submissions should be accompanied by the signed declaration which you can download here.
Stories are preferably to be set in 11 point, Times Roman, at one and half line spacing.
Entries should be sent as a file attachment in one of the following file formats: PDF (.pdf), Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx) or Rich Text Format (.rtf).


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