Kenyan writer Makena Onjerika has won the 2018 Caine Prize for African Writing – often described as Africa’s leading literary award, for her short story entitled “Fanta Blackcurrant”, published in Wasafiri (2017). The Chair of the Caine Prize judging panel, award winning Ethiopia-American novelist and writer, Dinaw Mengestu, announced Makena as the winner of the £10,000 prize at an award dinner this evening (Monday 2 July). The ceremony was held for the second time in Senate House, in partnership with SOAS and the Centre for African Studies.
Dele Meiji Fatunla has been announced as the new Administrator of the Caine Prize for African Writing. He will take up the role on 1 June 2018.
Formerly Head of Communications at the Royal African Society, Dele will be responsible for the day-to-day management of the Caine Prize, liaising with trustees, writers and key partners in Africa, the UK and the US. Working with publishers, schools, and literary and cultural organisations in Africa and around the world, Dele will play an important role in the efforts of the Caine Prize to promote contemporary African literature and African writers, and to develop emerging literary talent on the continent.
The shortlist for the 2018 Caine Prize for African Writing has been announced, showcasing a diversity of themes and a wealth of literary talent. The five-writer shortlist was unveiled by this year’s Chair of judges, award-winning Ethiopian-American author, Dinaw Mengestu.
Dinaw Mengestu, former Lannan Foundation Chair in Poetics at Georgetown University, said: “The best short stories have a subtle, almost magical quality to them. They can contain through the rigour of their imagination and the care of their prose more than just a glimpse into the complicated emotional, political, and social fabric of their characters’ lives.
The Caine Prize for African Writing, now in its nineteenth year, has received 147 qualifying short stories from 20 African countries. This year’s entries sees a diversity of stories from across the continent, with representation from writers representing North, East, Southern and West African countries.
The Caine Prize for African Writing is one of the world’s leading literary awards. With offices in Central London, the Caine Prize works with publishers, schools, literary and cultural organisations in Africa and the diaspora to promote African writers.
Dr Lizzy Attree, who has served as Director of the Caine Prize for African Writing as a part-time consultant for seven years, is leaving the organisation. The Board of Trustees has paid tribute to the work Lizzy has done throughout her tenure, and wishes her well with the Mabati Cornell Kiswahili Prize and her other projects. The Board is grateful for Lizzy’s commitment and contributions to the continued growth of the Caine Prize, which is recognised as a leading literary award. An announcement regarding the future administration of the Prize will follow in due course.
The Caine Prize for African Writing has announced the five judges for the 2018 Prize. Georgetown University’s nomination to the panel, Dinaw Mengestu, will serve as the Chair of judges. An award winning Ethiopian-American novelist and writer, Dinaw is the former Chair in Poetry at the Lannan Foundation at Georgetown. He will be joined by: Henrietta Rose-Innes, South African author and winner of the 2008 Caine Prize; Lola Shoneyin, award winning author and Director of the Ake Arts and Books Festival; Alain Mabanckou, world-renowned writer and Professor of Literature at UCLA; and Ahmed Rajab, a Zanzibar-born international journalist, political analyst and essayist.