Book Feature: The Short Story is Dead, Long Live the Short Story

Publisher: Black Letter Media Ltd, South Africa

Year: 2017

Genre: Anthology of Short Stories

Number of pages: 151


The Short Story Is Dead, Long Live The Short Story! Volume 2 is an anthology of eleven stories featuring writers from South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya written in response to the call for submissions for a new annual story contest, The Short Story is Dead Prize founded and managed by Black Letter Media, a publishing house based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

In 2015, the publisher of Black Letter Media, Duduzile Zamantungwa Mabaso announced an annual literary contest to be called “The Short Story is Dead Prize” worth R7, 000 with the winning story receiving R5, 000 and two runners-up sharing R2, 000. In 2016, Obinna Udenwe’s story, Men Are Fools was announced the winner and was awarded the prize money – the winning story and ten others were collated into an anthology published in 2017.

The first volume of The Short Story is Dead, Long Live the Short Story anthology was published in 2012 to celebrate Short Story Day Africa, but the second volume features stories from ‘both emerging and more established voices including Christine Coates, Obinna Udenwe, Mapule Mohulatsi, Gugu McLaren and Thato Magano’ and brings together ‘stories from around the African continent that surprise, soothe, question and flare off the page with their intensity’, according to the introductory statement issued by the publisher of Black Letter Media. They tell of death like in Obinna Udenwe’s winning story Men Are Fools about a young man who commits suicide on the night Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao had the world boxing match of all time. In the runner–up story, A Night to Remember by Christine Coates, we read of a barkeeper’s secret affair with one of her customers and how this nearly caused a man his freedom. In Wam Bam Man, Nigerian Adaobi Okwy revisits the issue of non-consensual sex and how women’s dignities are toyed with by lecherous men. And in the story, For My Brother by Nkosinthandile Peme, Myra is exposed to HIV by a lover who would leave her soon after to bear the burden all by herself.

The Short Story is Dead, Long Live the Short Story vol. 2 stands out as an anthology of diverse voices as the contributors writing from various backgrounds and experiences bring to the fore societal issues in a way that do justice to the theme of the anthology – ‘My World’. The contributors present stories that questions how we live and what affects our survival and existence. In Parallels of Yesterday, Thato Magano draws the reader into the gay life of characters who cannot help but be who they are created to be and questions the society’s indifference to homosexuality. In Exorcising Betty, Khalid Salleh writes beautifully about a man’s struggle to rid himself of the haunting laughter and memories of the woman he once loved.

The Short Story is Dead, Long Live the Short Story! Vol 2 is a beautiful anthology that we hope will continue to receive the accolade it deserves.

The anthology can be purchased at or email: or from Amazon.

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