Friday 21 November, 2014
Caine Prize 2015 judging panel announced in Nigeria
The judges of this year’s Caine Prize for African Writing were announced today at the Ake Arts and Book Festival in Abeokuta, Nigeria. The panel will be chaired by award-winning South African author Zoë Wicomb. She will be joined by the distinguished television and radio journalist Zeinab Badawi, Indian author and Man Booker Prize shortlistee Neel Mukherjee, Assistant Professor of English at the University of Georgetown Cóilín Parsons, and Brian Chikwava, the winner of the Caine Prize in 2004.
During the announcement Caine Prize Director Lizzy Attree stated, “We are proud to announce the 2015 judges early this year and hope the calibre of this outstanding panel will encourage publishers to enter stories before the deadline of 31 January 2015.”
Last year a record 140 qualifying stories were submitted to the judges from 17 African countries. The judges will meet in late April 2015 to decide on the shortlisted stories, which will be announced shortly thereafter. £500 will be awarded to each shortlisted writer. The winning story will be announced at a dinner at the Bodleian Library in Oxford on Monday 6 July 2015.
The five shortlisted stories, alongside the stories written at the annual Caine Prize workshop, are published annually by New Internationalist in the UK and publishers in eight African countries; ‘amaBooks (Zimbabwe), Bookworld Publishers (Zambia), Cassava Republic (Nigeria), FEMRITE (Uganda), Jacana Media (South Africa), Kwani? (Kenya), Langaa Research and Publishing CIG (Cameroon), Lantern Books (Nigeria) and Sub-Saharan Publishers (Ghana).
Caine Prize workshops are held in Africa for writers who have been shortlisted for the Caine Prize and other talented writers who have come to the Prize’s attention through the selection process. Each workshop consists of 12 writers from different African countries, who convene for ten days to read and discuss work in progress and to learn from two more experienced writers, who act as tutors or animateurs. It is planned that next year’s workshop, which will be the thirteenth, will be held in Ghana.
Included in the 2014 anthology is the story by this year’s Kenyan winner, Okwiri Oduor. Jackie Kay MBE, chair of the 2014 judging panel said of the author, “Okwiri Oduor is a writer we are all really excited to have discovered. ‘My Father’s Head’ is an uplifting story about mourning – Joycean in its reach. She exercises an extraordinary amount of control and yet the story is subtle, tender and moving. It is a story you want to return to the minute you finish it.”
Notes to Editors
The Caine Prize is awarded for a short story by an African writer published in English (indicative length 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 African winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Wole Soyinka and J M Coetzee, are Patrons of the Caine Prize. Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne is President of the Council, Ben Okri OBE is Vice President, Jonathan Taylor CBE is the Chairman, Ellah Wakatama Allfrey OBE is the Deputy Chairperson and Dr Lizzy Attree is the Director. Books are available direct from the publishers or from the Africa Book Centre, African Books Collective or Amazon.
The New Internationalist edition of The Gonjon Pin was published in July 2014. (ISBN 978-1-78026-174-4 print; 978-1-78026-175-1 ebook).
Previous winners are Sudan’s Leila Aboulela (2000), Nigerian Helon Habila (2001), Kenyan Binyavanga Wainaina (2002), Kenyan Yvonne Owuor (2003), Zimbabwean Brian Chikwava (2004), Nigerian Segun Afolabi (2005), South African Mary Watson (2006), Ugandan Monica Arac de Nyeko (2007), South African Henrietta Rose-Innes (2008), Nigerian EC Osondu (2009), Sierra Leonean Olufemi Terry (2010), Zimbabwean NoViolet Bulawayo (2011), Nigerian Rotimi Babatunde (2012), Nigerian Tope Folarin (2013) and Kenyan Okwiri Oduor (2014).
The Caine Prize is principally supported by The Oppenheimer Memorial Trust, The Miles Morland Foundation, the Booker Prize Foundation, Sigrid Rausing & Eric Abraham, Weatherly International plc, China Africa Resources, The Beit Trust, Exotix and CSL Stockbrokers. Other funders and partners include The British Council, the Bodleian Library, Georgetown University (USA), The Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice, the Royal Over-Seas League, Cambria, The Lennox and Wyfold Foundation, the EU Culture Fund (Zimbabwe) and Kenya Airways.
The Caine Prize 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.
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