Celebrating East African Writing!

Storymoja Call for Fiction Submissions and Invitation to Workshop

Invitation to Writing Workshop:

LIFE SKILLS SERIES – FICTION for teenagers in English and Kiswahili

Please apply to attend this workshop:

  1. If you wish to submit to the call for submissions below but do not have ready material
  2. If you have material that you are unsure will fit the guidelines and wish to know how to adapt and edit it
  3. If you want to learn and practice key craft skills (character development, dialogue, scene setting, self-editing  and a plotting template) for developing fiction that almost guarantees that we will publish your work


Workshop Leader: Muthoni Garland and Rebecca Nandwa

Workshop dates (please commit to attending all six sessions)

Day – Saturday 30th January, Feb 6th, Feb 13th, Feb 20th, April 2nd, April 9th

Time –  9:50am to 1pm

Cost – 1,000/ per session (if you need financial assistance write to us, yaani, don’t let money stop you)

Places – Maximum of 18

To apply and book your place, send an email with a short bio, and a 500 word sample of your writing by 25th January 2016 to



Storymoja invites manuscripts for our Life Skills Series based on the guidelines below. 

  1. Story must be 30,000 to 80,000 words sent by email
  2. Story can be fiction or non-fiction.
  3. Story must be age-appropriate. Core target age should be written on the first page below the title.
  4. Format – double spaced, font can be Calibri, Roman Times or Arial; size 12. Must include a title, author name, page and date on every page, preferably as a header.
  5. Even if fictive, make the settings seem real, and recognizable. Preferably use local content, scenes, etc.
  6. Use lots of internal speech so that the reader has insights into the hero’s/heroine’s journey of self-discovery.
  7. Story must be in English or Kiswahili.
  8. Story can be in any genre – literary, mystery, adventure, real life, science fiction.
  9. The characters in the story must be believable/real. The heroine/hero must come across as a native of East Africa, not an impersonation.
  10. Show, don’t tell. Events should happen in real time and as much as possible, use lots of action and dialogue to tell the story – minimize use of flashbacks and summaries. Make the dialogue sound like its coming out of the mouths of East Africans. Use internal dialogue.
  11. Coincidences can only happen on the first page. No new characters who significantly shape the plotlines after the halfway point. Especially avoid characters who magically appear to resolve the conflict.
  12. Story should have a central conflict that explores one of the themes below.
Relationships – boy/girl Peer pressure Self-management
Family Social status Health  – particularly HIV/Aids, diabetes, mental health
Neighbourhood, community Age discrimination Ethics, morality
Identity – tribe/race/personal Environment Coming of age
Gender discrimination Self-belief Resources – natural or man-made
Wealth creation or management Role models Culture
  1. In dealing and resolving the story conflict, the characters must grapple with some of the life skills below. The central character must learn or realise the importance of a critical life skill in the course of the story, for example if they are irresponsible, then the experiences they go through in the story should lead them to display responsibility.
Responsibility    Empathy /generosity /caring
Confidence Curiosity
Respect Spirituality
Creative thinking/independent thought Critical thinking
Judgment Attitude
Decision making /coping with choices Focus
Work ethic Esteem
Problem solving Practical skills
Aspiration/ambition Habits
Perseverance /diligence Time management
Managing money Love – healthy and unhealthy
Patriotism Freedom
Communication Determination
Energy/drive/enthusiasm Listening
Humour/ability to laugh at oneself Integrity
Coping with emotions/emotional development Self-awareness/self-belief/ self-monitoring/emotional intelligence
  1. The central character (hero/heroine) of the story:
  2. Must be between 13 years and 18 years
  3. Must want something or something to happen very badly
  4. Must act, set things in motion within the story (not things always happening to him/her!)
  5. Must suffer internal (emotional) and external consequences for those actions
  6. Must be the key person that resolves the conflict
  7. Must live!
  8. Must experience a change (epiphany) that is, learn from having been on the story journey.
  9. Every chapter should end with a cliff hanger, no matter how minor.
  10. The life skill learning should be self-evident once the reader is done with the story.  Avoid explaining the ‘moral’ or ‘life skill’ of the story – manifest it in what they say and do and thus allow the reader to conclude what it is.
  11. Feel free to use humour, to scale big or small (community dealing with locust invasion or teenager dealing with pimple during the BIG date)
  12. Be creative!
  13. Use British English. Avoid Americanisms – although we can tackle this during the editing.


Once Storymoja formally accepts a manuscript for publishing, we will edit, title, proof, design, print, promote and distribute the work at our discretion and cost. Attendance at the workshop does not guarantee that we will accept the manuscript for publication. However, it makes it more likely.

As part of the publishing process, we will work closely with the author and expect full cooperation during the editing and promotion of the book. We want authors to succeed.


  1. Authors must sign contracts confirming that their manuscripts are original and unpublished.
  1. The author will choose whether to:
  • Accept a flat fee of Ksh 1 per word, based on the final word count after editing, for all rights worldwide and in all formats, payable once final proofs are signed off; or
  • Accept 10% royalty fee on net receipts, for all rights worldwide and in all formats, accounted for twice a year and payable on an annual basis.


4 comments on “Storymoja Call for Fiction Submissions and Invitation to Workshop

    January 14, 2016

    Would you kindly confirm the deadline of the fiction submission. Kind regards.


  2. Storymoja Africa
    January 20, 2016

    Hi Grace, the deadline for submission is the 25th of January 2016.


  3. benson g wanjiru
    January 23, 2016

    I saw this advertisement late so I won’t be participating in this particular call. I however have two fiction books but my problem is access to a computer so as to put my work in word document format.I use my Android phone to write my books and save them as question is,is it appropriate if I can send my submissions in that format using my email? please help.


  4. Sheena
    January 29, 2016

    Hello Storymoja,

    I am still waiting further details on the workshop. Would you kindly confirm the location for this Saturday?


Comments are closed.


This entry was posted on January 12, 2016 by in Writer's Blog.
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