Calling for Manuscripts from Publishers - 2015

The National Book Development Council of Kenya (NBDCK) in partnership with the Canadian Organization for Development through Education (CODE) and with the generous support of Canadian patron, Mr. Bill Burt, have the pleasure to invite Kenyan-based and duly registered publishers to submit engaging manuscripts for youth (12 – 15 years old) written by Kenyan authors to be considered for the 2016 Burt Award for African Literature.

Objectives of the Award

  1. To recognize excellence in young adult literature from Kenya.
  2. To support and motivate the development of supplementary reading materials in both upper primary and secondary schools.
  3. To publish stories which strengthen the English language skills of youth and help foster an enthusiasm and love for reading.
  4. To stimulate and support the Kenyan publishing industry and contribute to the wealth of Kenyan literature.
  5. To increase the stock of English reading materials available in schools and libraries in Kenya.

Rules Governing the Award

  1. The author must be a Kenyan national and a resident in Kenya.
  2. The Award is open to unpublished manuscripts. Eligible manuscripts must be submitted by publishers only .
  3. Works of fiction, literary non-fiction, and graphic novels written for young adults aged 12-15 are eligible. Works of poetry or drama, anthologies, short story collections, textbook, instructional manuals and self-published books are not eligible.
  4. Works must be in English. Works that have been translated into English from another language are also eligible. In these cases, the Award would be shared equally between the author and translator
  5. Works must be between 80 and 120 pages (or between approximately 20,000 and 40,000 words) in length (except in the case of graphic novels).
  6. Works should be engaging and entertaining and reflect issues of interest to Kenyan youth 12-15 years old.
  7. Manuscripts previously submitted to the Burt Award can be re-submitted for consideration in subsequent years ONLY if they have been significantly revised.
  8. All publishers must agree to commit to the terms and conditions of the Award.

The Awards*

1st Prize-               CAD$ 9,000

2nd Prize -             CAD$ 7,000

3rd Prize -             CAD$ 5,000

*Prizes are based on $9,000, $7,000 and $5,000 Canadian pharmacy dollars and will be subject to changes in the currency exchange rates.

Publishers of winning titles will also be awarded a guaranteed purchase of up to 3,000 copies of each winning book and will be encouraged to develop digital versions (ebooks) of winning titles with the assistance of CODE.

Notification of Winning Submissions

Eligible titles will be assessed by a panel of qualified judges. A shortlist of nominated titles will be announced within 6 months of the deadline for submission. Publishers of shortlisted manuscripts will then have the opportunity to edit their manuscripts in order to be considered for one of the up to 3 prizes. Prizes will be awarded at an Award ceremony once the manuscripts are published.

There is no guarantee that all three prizes will be awarded every year. Only titles that meet the criteria and standards of the jury will be deemed worthy of winning prizes. The decision of the Burt Award for African Literature jury will be final.   Only publishers with shortlisted titles will be notified.

Modality of submission

When submitting manuscript(s), publishers must provide six (6) non-returnable, spiral-bound copies of the manuscript(s) accompanied by 1 electronic, soft copy.

The soft copies should be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., while the hard copies should be delivered at the NBDCK offices, Suite No.3, Pittaway Building, Ralph Bunche Road (off Ngong Road, next to Prof. Nelson Awori Building).

All submissions must be accompanied by an entry form. A summary of the work and reasons for its suitability must be submitted together with the entry form (CLICK HERE to download the entry form).

Deadline for Submission

All entries must be delivered to the National Book Development Council of Kenya by 12.00 noon, Friday 25th September 2015.

For more information about the Award, please contact:

The National Book Development Council of Kenya

P.O. Box 10904 - 00100
Tel. 254 020 2721876; 2725006
Cell Phone +254 770 108 556

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.