Corona Fiction: Arts24 and Kwela Books launch a short story competition

Submit your corona fiction and lockdown literature (Photo: Getty)
Submit your corona fiction and lockdown literature (Photo: Getty)

"Sometime in February, the world as we know it shudders to a stop. For the most part, there had been a long, protracted forewarning: what had been killing people by the hundreds in Wuhan, would take root elsewhere in the world. Come 30 January 2020, there are more than 7 000 cases reported in China and 170 deaths. By 2 February 2020, the virus has made a complete mockery of borders, and cases are now being reported in Russia, Philippines, Sweden, Germany and Vietnam. 

"By the end of April, there have been more than three million cases, more than two hundred thousand deaths and the virus that invents new ways to confound the brightest scientific minds is set to continue claiming more lives. The road has been long and deadly. But most still can’t help but feel we fell asleep one night and woke up having inherited a new world.

"A third of the world is confined to their houses, unwilling to go back in public, lest a hug, a brushing of the shoulder turns deadly. Streets empty out. Sidewalks remain unoccupied. Tacked onto a row of street lamps, flanking the main road, a barrage of headlines announce our worst fears: 'extended lockdown', 'dead being ferried', 'travel restrictions set to continue', 'South Africans urged to social distance'," Rofhiwa Maneta in buffering juju: Freedom in Two Acts.

As a way of marking and documenting this time, Arts24 in collaboration with Kwela Books is running a short story competition. Submit your corona fiction and lockdown literature of 500 - 3000 words between 11 May 2020 and 16 June 2020. The winning story will be published on Arts24 and receive a R5000 cash prize, whilst two finalists will take home R2500.


1. The organisers will announce one winner and two finalists. The winner will receive a cash prize of R5000. The two finalists will each receive a cash prize of R2500.

2. Your short story should be written in English and be at least 500 words. The maximum word count is 3000.

3. The winning entries will be published digitally on Arts24. The copyright remains with the respective writers.

4. Kwela Books and NB Publishers reserve the first option to publish any of the winning and other entries.

5. Each entrant guarantees that he/she is the author of the story and the copyright belongs to him/her. 

6. While under consideration, short stories may not be submitted for publication elsewhere until News24 and NB Publishers have announced the winning entries and the competition has been closed.

7. The judges reserve the right to withhold one or more of the prizes should the quality of the entries not be up to standard. 

8. The competition is open to citizens of all countries. Media24 employees may not enter. 

9. Entries should be typed and submitted in MS Word format to, with Corona Fiction in the subject bar. 

10. As entries are judged anonymously, writers are requested to ensure that their names do not appear on any of the pages of their entry.

11. Each entry must be accompanied by an entry form. Download the entry form here.

12. Entries may not be submitted under a pseudonym. Writers may enter as co-authors.

13. Entrants are requested to keep copies of their entries. The organisers cannot accept responsibility should an entry go astray.

14. The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into regarding the process or the winning entries. 

15. Correspondence will only be sent to the winner and two finalists. If you don’t receive correspondence from the organisers by 30 June, your entry is unfortunately not one of the winners.

16. Closing date: 16 June 2020.

17. Enquiries:                                                 

18. Telephone: (021) 406 3412

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
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