The shortlist for the 2019 Caine Prize was announced on Monday 20th May 2019. Consequently, two Nigerians, Lesley Nneka Arimah and Tochukwu Emmanuel Okafor made the list. Others are Mero Hadero (Ethiopia), Cherrie Kandie (Kenya), and Ngwah-Mbo Nana Nkweti (Cameroon). According to the judges, the list features stories that deal with “the ordinary in an extraordinary manner”.
This year’s shortlist was announced by the Chair of Judges, Dr. Peter Kimani. Kimani is the author of ‘Dance of the Jakaranda’. However, the judges believe the stories showcase the diversity of African short-story writing tradition. Nevertheless, this year also marks the 20th anniversary of the Caine Prize. Talking about the shortlist Dr. Kimani said,
“This is a special year for the Caine Prize for African Writing, as it marks its twentieth anniversary. It’s a milestone that affords for both a reflection on the past and a projection into the future. [However] without exception, past Caine Prize winners have been revolutionary and evolutionary— breaking fresh ground, while pushing the African story from the margins to the mainstream of world literature.”
About Caine Prize
The Caine Prize is an annual award in memory of Sir Michael Caine who was the former Chairman of Booker plc and Chairman of the Booker Prize management committee for two and a half decade. The prize goes to a short story of 3,000 to 10,000 words by an African writer. However, the publication of the story must be in English.
This year the winner will go home with £10,000. However, all the shortlists will get £500. The award ceremony to announce the winner of this year’s prize will take place on Monday, July 8th, 2019. The venue for the event is Beveridge Hall at Senate House, SOAS. The award ceremony is in partnership with SOAS, University of London.
Patrons of the Caine Prize are J M Coetzee and Wole Soyinka, the two African Nobel Prize for Literature winners. Other council members are Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne (President), Ben Okri OBE (Vice President), Ellah Wakatama Allfrey OBE (Chairperson), Adam Freudenheim (Deputy Chairperson), and Dele Fatunla (Administrator).
Meet the shortlisted authors and their stories
Judging this year’s Caine Prize with Dr. Kimani are Sefi Atta, Margie Orford, Scott Taylor, and Olufemi Terry. Orford is famous as the “queen of South African crime-thriller writers”. According to Dr. Kimani,
“The five writers on this year’s shortlist carry on with that tradition, not just in their inventiveness in imagining the world, but also in tackling the ordinary in an extraordinary manner, in a wide range of issues: gender and generation; home and exile; sexuality and religion; love and hate; happiness and heartbreak.”
The shortlisted writers and their stories are as follows;
- Lesley Nneka Arimah (Nigeria) for her story ‘Skinned’
- Merone Hadero (Ethiopia) for her story ‘Wall’
- Cherrie Kandie (Kenya) for her story ‘Sew My Mouth’
- Ngwah-Mbo Nana Nkweti (Cameroon) for her story ‘It Takes A Village Some Say’
- Tochukwu Emmanuel Okafor (Nigeria) for his story ‘All Our Lives’
To mark the 20th anniversary of the Caine Prize, there will be a special anniversary anthology. Also, all stories on the shortlist will be printed by New Internationalist (UK) and through co-publishers in 16 African countries.
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