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Launch and Call for Submissions Mystery Publishers Annual ‘Our Stories Redefined’ Anthology | Mystery Publishers 5th Anniversary – Poetry Edition

We are a premier Pan African author-focused independent publisher of choice with a strong bias to African speculative and pop fiction. Based in Kenya, our mission is to create opportunities for New-Age African Writers and to foster passion for reading by partnering with authors to help create stories and communicate ideas that inform, entertain, and inspire.

Thus, we are calling out upon writers to submit poems for our 5th Anniversary commemoration. The anthology will be published by Mystery Books, an imprint of Mystery Publishers, and distributed by the African Books Collective, UK. The book will also be available in Kenyan bookstores. (Kenyatta University Bookshop, Nairobi; Nuria Bookstore, Nairobi; Ereto Bookshop, Nakuru; and AfriReads Bookshop, Eldoret.)

About the Publication.         Every year, to celebrate our milestones in redefining African stories, we will be publishing an anthology of poems or flash fiction. ‘Our Stories Redefined’ shall showcase African writing focusing on telling different stories of hope, realism, and the future.


Please read the following guidelines carefully. Submissions that do not follow any of the instructions will not be considered:

  • Eligibility.      The anthology is applicable ONLY to African poets. We define an African poet as someone born in Africa, or whose parents (at least one) are African, or someone who currently lives in Africa, and has done so for at least 10 years, including Africans in diaspora. The participants should be 18 years and above.
  • Length.          Poets to submit a maximum of two poems, up to 45 lines maximum.
  • Language.     
    • Poems submitted should be in English (UK).
    • Works translated into English from any African language may be submitted, but they must be accompanied by their English version.
    • Translations of poems are eligible if submitted by the writer (not the translator) and provided the translator is an African.
    • Details of the translator must be stated on the entry, including the percentage of revenue share between the writer and the translator.
  • Theme.           There is no fixed theme but we highly prefer poems that cut across living, present or future, in Africa, and paint a clear picture of it. Strive to have an authentic voice.
  • The poems should be original and should not have been previously published anywhere in full or in part. Published work is taken to mean published in any electronic or printed, publicly accessible form, e.g. anthology, magazine, newspaper, blogs and websites, including personal blogs/websites.
  • Entries submitted to the other Mystery Publishers anthology, ‘SKETCHES OF URBAN STRIFE’, are not eligible.
  • Submissions should be through email ( as follows:
    • subject heading: ‘5th Anniversary Poetry submission by YOUR NAME’;
    • the poem as a single Word (.doc, .docx, or .rtf) document;
    • document prepared in Times New Roman, font size 12pt, single spaced;
    • save your document a Word document ‘Anniversary_Poem_by_YOUR NAME’ as the file name.
  • We do not consider simultaneous submissions, i.e. work that is being considered elsewhere.
  • Submissions open on 15 April 2021 (8:00 a.m. GMT+3).
  • Deadline for submission is midnight 15 June 2021 (GMT+3).
  • Submissions received before/after the opening time/deadline will neither be considered nor will the authors be contacted.
  • Accepted contributors will be contacted for further guidance.
  • The accepted contributors MUST be available always for correspondence and editing of their works.
  • Enquiries concerning submission status after 15 June 2021 will not be entertained.


  • You own, and shall always retain, copyright of your work; we shall retain the ‘Collective Work/Anthology’ copyright.
  • We ask for first serial rights on any poem we publish. This means that the poem should not have appeared anywhere else, either in print or online. (This includes publication on your website/blog.)
  • On publication, we ask for first print (exclusive) rights for six (6) months from the date of publication, and the right to keep the story in print as part of the anthology.
  • After expiry of the first print rights, we ask continuing, non-exclusive print (publication) rights as part of, and in reprints of, the anthology only. This means that you can publish your poem(s) on other platforms, either in print or electronically.
  • The author retains all rights not expressly granted to the publisher.


  • There is no submission fee.
  • We shall pay US$5.00 (Ksh.500) for every poem accepted for publication.
  • We shall NOT pay author royalties. Proceeds of the anthology shall be used to award pro-rata creative writing courses scholarships to applicants who shall qualify for Mystery Writing Academy creative writing courses.


The anthology will be published by Mystery Books, an imprint of Mystery Publishers Limited ( It shall be distributed by African book Collective outside Kenya/Africa and Mystery Publishers in Kenya.


We are working with the following timelines:

  • Submissions: 15 April 2021 – 15 June 2021
  • Selecting submitted poems, contacting contributors: 16 June 2021 – 15 July 2021
  • Shortlisting of selected poems: 15 July 2021
  • Editing and proofreading: 16 July 2021 – 31 August 2021
  • Publishing process commences: 01 September 2021
  • Publication date: 31 October 2021
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