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‘Our Stories Redefined’ 2023 Anthology Call for Submissions

Our Stories Redefined Anthology for African Writing is a vehicle for new-age African writers to tell their stories to a generation that understands them.

Mystery Publishers is a premier Pan-African, author-focused, independent publisher of choice with a strong bias toward African speculative and pop fiction. Based in Kenya, our mission is to create opportunities for new-age African writers and to foster a passion for reading by collaborating with authors to help create stories and communicate ideas that inform, entertain, and inspire.

In its third edition, the anthology will be published by Mystery Books, an imprint of Mystery Publishers. It will be distributed worldwide via online retail bookstores and bookstores in Kenya and available from academic institutions and libraries.

The 2023 edition calls for submissions in Poetry (two poems up to a maximum of 45 lines long).


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

  • Genre.    Poetry (all forms)   
  • Eligibility.      The anthology is eligible ONLY for African writers. We define an African writer as someone born in Africa, whose parents (at least one) are African, or who currently lives in Africa and has done so for at least ten years, including Africans in the diaspora. The participants should be 18 years and above.
  • Length.           Writers are to submit a maximum of two poems, up to 45 lines long.
  • Language.
    • The poems submitted should be in English (UK).
    • Works translated into English from any African language may be submitted, but their English version must accompany them.
    • Poetry translations are eligible if submitted by the writer (not the translator) and provided the translator is an African.
    • Details of the translator must be stated in the entry, including the percentage of payment share between the writer and the translator.
  • Theme.           The theme of this year’s poetry collection will be centred around Strange Water. The submitted works should appreciate a futuristic Africa, our myths and beliefs, magical realms, and fantastical creatures. The pieces could be utopian or dystopian. This theme is rooted firmly in the subgenre of African futurism in line with Africa Union’s (AU) ‘Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want’, Aspiration 5: Africa with a Strong Cultural Identity Common Heritage, Values and Ethics (Check it Here).
  • 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.
  • Submissions should be through email ( as follows:
    • subject heading: ‘Our Stories Redefined 2023 Poetry Submission by YOUR NAME’;
    • the poem as a single Word (.doc, .docx, or .rtf) document—PDFs are not allowed;
    • document prepared in Times New Roman, font size 12pt, single spaced;
    • save your document as Word document ‘Redefined_Poetry_2023_by_YOUR NAME’ as the file name; and
  • the document to have a cover page showing identifying (name and country of origin).
  • We do not consider simultaneous submissions, i.e. work that is being considered elsewhere.
  • Submissions open on 15 February 2023 (8:00 a.m. GMT+3).
  • The deadline for submission is midnight on 15 April 2023 (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 always be available for correspondence and editing their works.
  • Enquiries concerning submission status after 15 April 2023 will not be entertained.


  • You own and shall always retain the copyright of your work; we shall retain the ‘Collective Work/Anthology’ copyright.
  • We ask for the first serial rights on any poem we publish. This means the poem should not have appeared anywhere else, 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 the expiry of the first print rights, we ask for 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.


  • We shall pay US$5.00 (Ksh.500) to East African poets and US$7.5 (Ksh.750) to poets from the rest of the world for every poem accepted for publication.
  • Writers within the East African region shall receive a copy of the anthology once published.
  • We shall NOT pay the 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 (


We are working with the following timelines:

  • Submissions: 15 February  2023 – 15 April 2023
  • Selecting submitted poems and contacting contributors: 16 April 2023 – 15 May 2023
  • Shortlisting of selected stories: 16 May 2023
  • Editing and proofreading: 17 May 2023 – 30 June 2023
  • Publishing process commences: 01 July 2023
  • Publication date: 16 September 2023
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