Nigerian Writers Dominate Caine Prize 2017 – Shortlist

Nigerian Writers Dominate Caine Prize 2017 - Shortlist
Nigerian Writers Dominate Caine Prize 2017 – Shortlist

Nigerian Writers Dominate Caine Prize 2017 – Shortlist

The 2017 Caine Prize shortlist has been announced and this year’s shortlist excites as it surprises. This year has the Prize’s oldest shortlistee as well as one of its youngest. And it has the Caine Prize’s second ever story to be translated from the Arabic. Also in the running is a writer who was shortlisted last year.

The five shortlisted writers include three Nigerians, one South African, and one Sudanese. And here they are:

Lesley Nneka Arimah (Nigeria) for “Who Will Greet You At Home” published in The New Yorker (USA, 2015).
Chikodili Emelumadu (Nigeria) for “Bush Baby” published in African Monsters, eds. Margarét Helgadóttir and Jo Thomas (Fox Spirit Books, USA. 2015).
Bushra al-Fadil (Sudan) for “The Story of the Girl whose Birds Flew Away,” translated by Max Shmookler, published in The Book of Khartoum – A City in Short Fiction eds. Raph Cormack & Max Shmookler (Comma Press, UK. 2016).
Arinze Ifeakandu (Nigeria) for “God’s Children Are Little Broken Things” published in A Public Space 24 (A Public Space Literary Projects Inc., USA. 2016).
Magogodi oaMphela Makhene (South Africa) for “The Virus” published in The Harvard Review 49 (Houghton Library Harvard University, USA. 2016).

The judging panel comprised of the 2007 Caine Prize winner, Monica Arac de Nyeko; author and Chair of the English Department at Georgetown University, Professor Ricardo Ortiz; Libyan author and human rights campaigner, Ghazi Gheblawi; University of Southampton’s African literature scholar, Dr Ranka Primorac. The panel was chaired by, Nii Ayikwei Parkes.

Here is what chair of the judges panel said:

This Year’s Submissions Were A Pleasure To Read; We Were All Impressed By The Quality And Imaginative Ambition Of The Work Received. Indeed, There Were A Dozen Stories That Did Not Make The Shortlist That Would Win Other Competitions There Seemed To Be A Theme Of Transition In Many Of The Stories. Whether It’s An Ancient Myth Brought To Life In A Contemporary Setting, A Cyber Attack-Triggered Wave Of Migration And Colonisation, An Insatiable Quest For Motherhood, An Entertaining Surreal Ride That Hints At Unspeakable Trauma, Or The Loss Of A Parent In The Midst Of A Personal Identity Crisis, These Writers Juxtapose Future, Past And Present To Ask Important Questions About The World We Live In.

Although They Range In Tone From The Satirical To The Surreal, All Five Stories On This Year’s Shortlist Are Unrelentingly Haunting. It Has Been A Wonderful Journey So Far And We Look Forward To Selecting A Winner. It Will Be A Hard Job, But I’ve Always Believed That You Can’t Go Wrong With A Ghanaian At The Helm Of An International Panel.

The Caine Prize is awarded to the best 3,000-10,000-word short story by an African writer. The winner receives £10,000 while the other finalists get £500. The winner will be announced at an award ceremony and dinner at Senate House Library, London, to be attended by the shortlistees.

Previous Caine Prize winners are: Sudan’s Leila Aboulela (2000); Nigeria’s Helon Habila (2001); Kenya’s Binyavanga Wainaina (2002); Kenya’s Yvonne Owuor (2003); Zimbabwe’s Brian Chikwava (2004); Nigeria’s Segun Afolabi (2005); South Africa’s Mary Watson (2006); Uganda’s Monica Arac de Nyeko (2007); South Africa’s Henrietta Rose-Innes (2008); Nigeria’s EC Osondu (2009); Sierra Leone’s Olufemi Terry (2010), Zimbabwe’s NoViolet Bulawayo (2011); Nigeria’s Rotimi Babatunde (2012); Nigeria’s Tope Folarin (2013); Kenya’s Okwiri Oduor (2014); Zambia’s Namwali Serpell (2015); and South Africa’s Lidudumalingani (2016).

The 2017 stories will be published in New Internationalist’s 2017 Caine Prize anthology The Goddess of Mwtara and Other Stories in June and through co-publishers in 16 African countries.

You can read the shortlisted stories below:

Who Will Greet You at Home?

Bush Baby.”

The Story of the Girl whose Birds Flew Away.”

God’s Children Are Little Broken Things.”

The Virus.”


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