By Dennis Abrams | @DennisAbrams2
A ‘General Shift Away From Politics’The five-writer shortlist for the 2016 Caine Prize for African Writing has been announced, and this year’s list includes both a former Caine Prize winner and a former regional winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize.
The chair of judges, Delia Jarrett-Macauley, describes the shortlist as “an engrossing, well-crafted and dauntless pack of stories.”
“The high standard of the entries was clear throughout and particularly noteworthy was the increasing number of fantasy fictions [with] the sci-fi trend resonating in several excellent stories.
“My fellow judges commented on the pleasure of reading the stories, the gift of being exposed to the exciting short fictions being produced by African writers today and the general shift away from politics towards more intimate subjects – though recent topics such as the Ebola crisis were being wrestled with.
“It was inspiring to note the amount of risk-taking in both subject matter and style, wild or lyrical voices matching the tempered measured prose writers, and stories tackling uneasy topics, ranging from an unsettling, unreliable narrator’s tale of airport scrutiny, to a science-fictional approach towards the measurement of grief, a young child’s coming to grips with family dysfunction, the big drama of rivaling siblings and the silent, numbing effects of loss.
“The panel is proud to have shortlisted writers from across the continent, finding stories that are compelling, well-crafted and thought-provoking.”
The 2016 Shortlist
- Abdul Adan (Somalia/Kenya) for ‘The Lifebloom Gift’ published in The Gonjon Pin and Other Stories: The Caine Prize for African Writing 2014 (New Internationalist, United Kingdom, 2014)
Read ‘The Lifebloom Gift’
- Lesley Nneka Arimah (Nigeria) for ‘What it Means When a Man Falls From the Sky’ published in Catapult (Catapult, USA, 2015)
Read ‘What it Means When a Man Falls From the Sky’
Tope Folarin (Nigeria) for ‘Genesis’ published in Callaloo (Johns Hopkins University Press, USA, 2014)
Folarin won the 2013 Caine Prize for African Writing
- Bongani Kona (Zimbabwe) for ‘At Your Requiem’ published in Incredible Journey: Stories That Move You (Burnet Media, South Africa, 2015)
Read “At Your Requiem”
- Lidudumalingani (South Africa) for ‘Memories We Lost’ published in Incredible Journey: Stories That Move You (Burnet Media, South Africa, 2015)
Read ‘Memories We Lost’
About the Prize
The Caine Prize, awarded annually for African creative writing, is named after the late Sir Michael Caine, former Chairman of Booker PLC and Chairman of the Booker Prize management committee for nearly 25 years.
The Prize is awarded for a short story by an African writer published in English (3,000 to 10,000 words). An African writer is taken to mean someone who was born in Africa, or who is a national of an African country, or who has a parent who is African by birth or nationality.
The winner of the £10,000 prize will be announced at an award ceremony and dinner at the Weston Library, Bodleian Libraries, Oxford, on Monday, July 4. Each shortlisted writer will receive £500.
Each of these stories will be published in New Internationalist’s Caine Prize 2016 Anthology in July and through co-publishers across Africa, who receive a print-ready PDF free of charge from New Internationalist