Nigeria leads with three authors in Caine prize shortlist

Tuesday June 2 2020

Caine Prize.

Five stories have been shortlisted for the 2020 Caine Prize for African Writing. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

CARLOS MUREITHI
By CARLOS MUREITHI
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Five stories have been shortlisted for the 2020 Caine Prize for African Writing, organisers have announced.

The works are How to Marry An African President, by Erica Sugo Anyadike (Tanzania), What to do When Your Child Brings Home a Mami Wata, by Chikodili Emelumadu (Nigeria and the UK), Fisherman's Stew, by Jowhor Ile (Nigeria), The Neighbourhood Watch, by Remy Ngamije (Rwanda and Namibia), and Grace Jones, by Irenosen Okojie (Nigeria and the UK), the organisers said.

Last year’s winner was Nigeria’s Lesley Nneka Arimah for her story Skinned.

"We were energised by the enormous breadth and diversity of the stories we were presented with — all of which collectively did much to challenge the notion of the African and diaspora experience, and its portrayal in fiction, as being one homogeneous whole,” said the chair of judges, Kenneth Olumuyiwa Tharp.

“These brilliant and surprising stories are beautifully crafted, yet they are all completely different from one another. From satire and biting humour, to fiction based on non-fiction, with themes spanning political shenanigans, outcast communities, superstition and social status, loss, and enduring love.”

The prize hopes to announce the winner in September.

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Each writer whose work is shortlisted will receive £500 ($613), and the overall winner will get £10,000 ($12,260). The shortlisted stories will be published in an anthology.

The other judges are James Murua, a Kenyan journalist, blogger, podcaster and editor; Audrey Brown, a South African broadcast journalist; Gabriel Gbadamosi, an Irish-Nigerian poet and playwright; and Ebisse Wakjira-Rouw, an Ethiopian-born nonfiction editor and policy adviser.

The Caine Prize has been awarded annually since 2000. Other previous winners include Uganda’s Monica Arac de Nyeko, Sudan’s Leila Aboulela, and Kenyans Makena Onjerika and Binyavanga Wainaina.