Two Nigerians writers were shortlisted ahead of other African writers in the 2019 Caine Prize for African Writing. This was made known on Monday 20th in London. The stories accessed features stories that tackle “the ordinary in an extraordinary manner” and celebrate the diversity of the African short-story writing tradition for the 20th edition of the Prize.
The shortlisted writers include authors from Nigeria, Cameroon, Kenya and Ethiopia was announced by this year’s Chair of Judges, Kenyan author Dr. Peter Kimani, the award-winning novel Dance of the Jakaranda.
Speaking on the event the Kenyan author said “This is a special year for the Caine Prize for African Writing, as it celebrates its 20th anniversary. It’s a milestone that affords for both a reflection on the past and a projection into the future.
He further said, “Without much exception, previous Caine Prize winners have been evolutionary and revolutionary, breaking fresh ground while pushing the African short-story from the margins to the mainstream of the world literature.
“The five shortlisted writers for this year carry on with that tradition, not just in their inventiveness in imagining the world, but also in combating the ordinary in an extraordinary manner, in a wide range of issues. Such issues: home and exile; gender and generation; love and hate; happiness and heartbreak; sexuality and religion”, he said.
The Kenyan author aside, the 2019 judging panel consists of Nigerian author and playwright Sefi Atta, shortlisted for the 2006 Caine Prize; Prof Scott Taylor, director of the African Studies Programme at Georgetown University; Olufemi Terry, Sierra Leone-born author and recipient of the 2010 Caine Prize and acclaimed South African author Margie Orford.
The shortlisted writers for the 2019 Caine Prize are:
Lesley Nneka Arimah (Nigeria) for ‘Skinned’, published in McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern , Issue 53 (2018); Meron Hadero (Ethiopia) for ‘The Wall’, published in McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, Issue 52 (2018); Cherrie Kandie (Kenya) for ‘Sew My Mouth’, published in ID Identity: New Short Fiction From Africa (2018); Ngwah-Mbo Nana Nkweti (Cameroon) for ‘It Takes A Village Some Say’, published in The Baffler (2017); Tochukwu Emmanuel Okafor (Nigeria) for ‘All Our Lives’, published in ID Identity: New Short Fiction From Africa (2018)
The winner of this year’s £10,000 prize will be announced at a dinner and award ceremony in the Beveridge Hall at Senate House, SOAS, on Monday 8th of July, 2018 (in partnership with SOAS, University of London). Each shortlisted writer will be given £500.
Thereafter, the shortlisted stories will be published by New Internationalist in a special publication to mark the 20th Caine Prize award dinner, and through co-publishers in 16 African countries who receive a print-ready PDF free of charge.
The Caine Prize for African Writing is a literature prize awarded to an African writer of an African short-story published in English. The prize was launched in 2000 to highlight and encourage the diversity and richness of African writing by bringing it to a broader audience internationally. The primary focus on the African short-story reflects the contemporary development of the African story-telling tradition.