Sudanese Rafeif Afif Ismail. a 23-year old woman from Western Australia, won the Deborah Cass Prize in Australia for short story for the year 2017.
This prize is for unpublished migrant writers from all over the world. Sudanese win came out of 91 literary works in the competition.
Her short story, entitled "Almitra among the Ghosts", is about three young Sudanese refugees who grew up in Australia. The writer, using English in a smooth western style, followed the Sudanese way of narration.
Rafeif received the award in Melbourne at a ceremony organized by "Writers Victoria". Writer "Nyadol Nyuon", a Sudanese refugee as well, handed the prize to Afeif who received a cash prize of $3,000 plus a three-month mentorship with an established writer. The objective of such assistance is to improve the writing skills of the winners who have not previously published literary works.
According to the Deborah Cass Prize Committee, writer Rafeif Afif has excellently created a new writing style that combines poetry and prose and reflects the Sudanese culture in an amazing English language where each term expresses a specific meaning.
Rafeif Ismail said to Sodanow: "I'm so honoured to receive this prize that has been named in the memory of Deborah Cass. The latter was an amazing person who left a bright legacy that her family and friends are carrying on. In 2017, the third year after the prize has been established; there were more than 92 entries from all over Australia. I hope that the prize continues to grow and that her memory lives on for as long as possible.
Prizes like the Deborah Cass Prize for Writing which provide opportunities for support and mentorship and a platform for emerging writers of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds to share their work, have a long lasting positive impact and ability to bring the hopes of diversifying arts into actuality. For when a platform is provided for one, the door is open to many more and change comes like ripples across water, each burst a catalyst for the next.
'Almitra among the Ghosts' is a part of a larger work; it have been a labour of love and I am beyond excited to be getting the opportunity to share them with the world. It is so important to create work that explores the migrant and refugee experience and to highlight the multitude of ways we all find a way of being here. In exploring the differences, may we find intersections of commonality".