Tribute to Buchi Emecheta (1944 – 2017)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
1 February 2017

 

TRIBUTE TO BUCHI EMECHETA (1944 – 2017)

The Council of the Caine Prize for African Writing pays tribute to Buchi Emecheta, a long-standing member of the Caine Prize Advisory Council, who died peacefully at her home in London on 25 January 2017, aged 72.

Buchi Emecheta was a Nigerian author who received great acclaim for her work both in the UK and Nigeria, as the author of more than 20 books. Born in Lagos, her father died when she was very young.  She won a scholarship to the Methodist Girls’ High School, married in 1960 aged sixteen, and had her first daughter that year. Her first son, Sylvester, was born in 1961 and in 1962 she joined her husband in London where he had gone to study. She had her second son in 1962, her second daughter in 1964, and in 1966, aged 22 and pregnant with her third daughter, she left her husband. While working to support her five children as a single mother, she wrote in the early mornings and studied at night classes to obtain an honours degree in Sociology.  Her first book, In The Ditch, details her experience as a poor, single parent in London. It was followed by Second-Class Citizen, The Bride Price, The Slave Girl, which was awarded the Jock Campbell Award, The Joys of Motherhood, Destination Biafra, Naira Power, The Rape of Shavi, Double Yoke, A Kind of Marriage, Gwendolen, Kehinde and The New Tribe. Her autobiography, Head Above Water, appeared in 1986 to much acclaim.

Chair of the Caine Prize Council Dr Delia Jarrett-Macauley recalls: “Many years ago, shortly after graduation, I enrolled on a Birkbeck College course on African women writers led by Buchi Emecheta. A warm and spirited teacher, she sensibly introduced us to her books Second-Class Citizen and The Joys of Motherhood, and other passionate novels by writers of her generation. Buchi made us laugh and nudged us to be determined. She described rising at dawn to write before work and finding inspiration in her family's stories. She was a true pioneer and will be greatly missed.” 

Vice-President of the Caine Prize and MAN Booker Prize-winning author Ben Okri said that Buchi Emecheta “re-ignited the rich place of women at the heart of African literature and wrote brave tales about survival and motherhood. Without her the current strong generation of women writers, who write well and fearlessly, would not exist. We owe her courage a debt of gratitude. May she rest in peace.”

Margaret Busby, Caine Prize Advisory Council member, was Buchi's editor and publisher at Allison & Busby for more than a decade in the 1970s-80s, and says: “It is with pride and a feeling of privilege that I now reflect on the fact that it was on my watch, so to speak, that her best remembered books were published - Second-Class Citizen (1974), The Bride Price (1976), The Slave Girl (1977), The Joys of Motherhood (1979), Destination Biafra (1982), and also her books for children. Sadly, her health deteriorated progressively over the past seven years, following a stroke, so her writing career was prematurely halted. But the resonant impact her work made on readers and fellow writers lives on."

Nii Ayikwei Parkes, 2017 Chair of Judges and council member, commented that “Buchi Emecheta was a model of the kind of humility that makes a great writer; never self-aggrandising, always ready to listen. What made her great was that she had, in tandem with her humility, a self-possession that meant that, like Toni Morrison, she knew her voice, her story, was central and complete, needed no validation from any quarter. Her confident representation of certain realities of Nigerian womanhood gave courage to a generation of young women of the global south to express themselves fully and unapologetically. I am certain her work has played no small part in the rich array of complex creative work being produced by young writers today. From her I learned that it’s important to put work out there to start a conversation, to be part of the world of conversations that affect us all as humans.”

Wangui wa Goro, Caine Prize Advisory Council member, added: “Buchi Emecheta's towering presence is always there and will remain.  She was a fierce trailblazer, both in her writing and in her insistence on being heard.  I had the privilege of knowing Buchi, both in the literary world and privately, and she was as funny as she was generous.  She was honest about the struggles in her personal life and in the publishing and reception of her work. Her stance and courage have been vindicated as through her legacy, she has opened the doors for, and to, so many.  She remains iconic to many African literature scholars and others, and especially for us here in the UK, both for her brave writing, and for her presence for younger generations of African women writers, such as mine.  I owe a great deal of my own inspiration to women like Buchi and feel blessed to have known her and her work.  May she rest in peace.”

James Currey, Caine Prize Advisory Council member and publisher of the African Writers Series at Heinemann, states that “Buchi Emecheta's work was of double importance. She, Flora Nwapa and Bessie Head gave women from Africa the idea that they might get published. She also gave women - and indeed men - the idea that they could write about the wider world of the diaspora."

She served as a judge for the Caine Prize in 2001, alongside J.M. Coetzee, Patron of the Caine Prize, the year that Helon Habila won. Nick Elam, Administrator of the Caine Prize from 1999 to 2011, recalls: “Buchi did not reveal her preference for Helon as winner, for fear of its being discounted as mere partisanship in favour of the Nigerian candidate, but she let out an explosive ululation when it became clear the decision was going his way.”

2001 Caine Prize winner Helon Habila, now Professor of Creative Writing at George Mason University, added: “Buchi's death is a tragic loss. She was a supportive, positive role model. Her personal story of overcoming adversity and abuse to become the writer she was is inspiring not just to women but to all of us. We thank her for her books.”

2004 Caine Prize winner and 2015 Caine Prize Judge, Brian Chikwava, added: “It is not just the stories Emecheta chose to tell that were bold and inspiring but also the story of her commitment to writing, even when the odds were overwhelmingly stacked against her. The first and last time I saw her she told us, a group of writers, that if you’re writing just to get published and not to earn from your work, then you are a blockhead. That sets things into perspective for any beginner writer.”

Caine Prize Director Lizzy Attree remembers first meeting Buchi Emecheta as a result of her contributions to the African Visions series at the British Library, programmed by the Africa Centre in Covent Garden, which ran from 2001 – 2005. Buchi was also involved in the Reading Africa libraries project organised and funded by SABDET (Southern African Book Development Education Trust) and co-produced by Lizzy with Kate Arafa.

Buchi Emecheta was a great supporter of the Caine prize and we are extremely grateful for her service as a member of the Advisory Council. She set a great example for a new generation of African writers through her life and work, and her work was an inspiration for the shortlisted and winning authors throughout the years.  She will be greatly missed.

Buchi Emecheta died peacefully in London on 25 January 2017.  She is survived by three of her five children.

--- Additional Comments and Tributes to note ---

Further tributes to Buchi Emecheta have been posted online by numerous friends and admirers. 

Read the tribute in the Guardian led by Bernardine Evaristo which includes comments from Margaret Busby, Aminatta Forna and Kadija Sesay here.

Read the tribute in the New Statesman written by Buchi Emecheta’s son Sylvester Onwordi here

Chika Unigwe posted on Facebook (26 January 2017) about meeting Buchi in 2004, the year Brian Chikwava won the Caine Prize: “I remember meeting Buchi years ago in London (with other Caine Prize shortlisted writers Monica Arac de Nyeko, Brian Chikwava, Parselelo Kantai and Doreen Baingana) and the conversation turned to the whys of our writing. A journalist asked if we wrote for the love of writing or for money. And we all said for the love of it of course. Buchi gave us an earful.  ‘You don't hear journalists say they do their jobs for the love of it! There is nothing wrong with making money from writing! It's a job like any other!’ (Or something along those lines) She taught me the very valuable lesson that pursuing your passion and making money from it are not mutually exclusive.”

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For more information:

Henry Gilliver

henry@raittorr.co.uk

020 7922 7719

 

Caine Prize 2017 Judging Panel Announced

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

12 December 2016

Caine Prize 2017 judging panel announced

The Caine Prize for African Writing has announced the five judges for the 2017 Prize. The panel will be chaired by Nii Ayikwei Parkes, award winning author, poet and editor. He will be joined by the 2007 Caine Prize winner, Monica Arac de Nyeko; accomplished author and Chair of the English Department at Georgetown University, Professor Ricardo Ortiz; Libyan author and human rights campaigner, Ghazi Gheblawi; and distinguished African literary scholar, Dr Ranka Primorac.

The 2017 Chair of Judges, Nii Ayikwei Parkes, said: "I have been a consumer of fiction from Africa for close to four decades, revelling in its range, its humour, its insights and dynamic linguistic palette. So, I am ecstatic to be asked to chair the panel for this year's Caine Prize and look forward to working with this incredible assembly of judges. There is, of course, the selfish pleasure, as an editor, of getting a first look at some of the finest writing coming from the continent and its foreign branches."

The deadline for submissions to the 2017 Caine Prize is 31 January. Publishers are encouraged to submit qualifying stories in good time. Submissions are welcome year round and late submissions will be entered in to the competition for the following year.

The judging panel will meet in May 2017 to determine which entries will make the shortlist. An announcement confirming the shortlist will be made in mid-May.

For the first time in the 18 year history of the Caine Prize, the award will be announced on Monday 3 July at Senate House, London, in collaboration with the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), which is celebrating its centenary.

“Memories We Lost”, by South African author Lidudumalingani, won the 2016 Prize and is included in the Caine Prize 2016 anthology, The Daily Assortment of Astonishing Things, published by New Internationalist in the UK and supplied as a print ready PDF to several African co-publishers.

Commenting on “Memories We Lost”, Chair of the 2016 judging panel, Dr Delia Jarrett-Macauley, said: “This is a troubling piece, depicting the great love between two young siblings in a beautifully drawn Eastern Cape. Multi-layered, and gracefully narrated, this short story leaves the reader full of sympathy and wonder at the plight of its protagonists”.

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Notes to Editors

The Caine Prize of £10,000 is awarded annually 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.  Shortlisted writers received £500 each.

The Prize, awarded 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 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, Dr Delia Jarrett-Macauley is the Chairperson and Dr Lizzy Attree is the Director.

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); Kenyan Okwiri Oduor (2014); Zambian Namwali Serpell (2015); and South African Lidudumalingani (2016).

The five shortlisted stories, alongside the 12 stories written at the Caine Prize annual workshop, are published annually by New Internationalist (UK); Jacana Media (South Africa); Lantern Books (Nigeria); Kwani? (Kenya); Sub-Saharan Publishers (Ghana); FEMRITE (Uganda); Interlink (USA); Gadsden Publishers (Zambia); and ‘amaBooks (Zimbabwe). Books are available from the publishers or from the Africa Book Centre, African Books Collective or Amazon.

The New Internationalist edition was published in July 2016 (ISBN 978-1-78026-320-5) and is available at https://newint.org/books/fiction/caine-prize-2016/

The Interlink edition published in the USA (ISBN 781566560160) is available at http://www.interlinkbooks.com/product_info.php?products_id=3410

The Caine Prize is supported by The Oppenheimer Memorial Trust, The Miles Morland Foundation, The Carnegie Corporation, the Booker Prize Foundation, Sigrid Rausing & Eric Abraham, The British Council, The Wyfold Charitable Trust, the Royal Over-Seas League, Commonwealth Writers, an initiative of the Commonwealth Foundation, John and Judy Niepold, Adam and Victoria Freudenheim,  Arindam Bhattacherjee and other generous donors.

Key dates 2017:

  • 31 January: Entry deadline

  • Mid-May: Shortlist announced

  • 3 July: Winner decided and announced in London

For further information, photos or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Henry Gilliver

henry@raittorr.co.uk

020 7922 7719

Follow us on Twitter (@CainePrize), Facebook, Instagram, and visit our website: www.caineprize.com

New Chair of Trustees

Caine_Prize_2016_Delia Jarrett Macauley.jpg

Dr Delia Jarrett-Macauley has been appointed Chair of the Board of Trustees and of the Advisory Council of the Caine Prize. Delia will succeed Jonathan Taylor CBE, a founder of the Prize, who has retired having served as Chairman since its inception seventeen years ago.

 



On retiring Jonathan said “I have been very glad and proud to have led the Caine Prize since its foundation. We have come a long way and the Prize has provided a launching pad for very many successful literary careers. I am delighted that Delia will be succeeding me.  She is an accomplished writer, broadcaster, academic and consultant. Most recently she has chaired the panel of judges for the 2016 Caine Prize. Under her leadership the Prize will continue to develop and she will take it in exciting new directions.” Jonathan was Chairman of the Booker Prize Foundation from 2001 to 2015. He was also Chair of the Trustees of the International Prize of Arabic Fiction.

Delia added “I am honoured and delighted to have been appointed as the Chair.  I hope to push the boundaries of the Caine Prize: a venture that attracts the greatest literary talent from the African continent.  I am looking forward to working with Lizzy Attree, our Director, and with the Board of Trustees and Council members.”

In addition to Delia, the Board of Trustees has been reinforced and rejuvenated by four new members. They are Gus Casely-Hayford, cultural historian; Adam Freudenheim, publisher of Pushkin Press; Fiammetta Rocco, books and art editor at the Economist; and Véronique Tadjo, an author and poet.  The full board is listed in the notes, together with brief biographical details on the new members.

The Caine Prize is now regarded as the most successful and significant award for African literary fiction. Since 2000, every winner has gone on to achieve literary success, as have many of the shortlisted writers. Media interest in the prize has also grown year-on-year, with extensive coverage in leading broadcasts and publications in the UK and across Africa.

The Caine Prize holds an annual African workshop that brings aspiring writers together from across the continent to write, read and discuss work in progress. Stories written at the workshop together with the shortlist are published each year by New Internationalist and 8 African co-publishers.

On 4 July Delia announced that this year’s Caine Prize winner was Lidudumalingani from South Africa, for his short story Memories We Lost’, published in Incredible Journey: Stories That Move You (Burnet Media, South Africa, 2015). The announcement was made at the Bodleian Library in Oxford. ‘Memories We Lost’ is available to read here.
 

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 Notes to Editors

The 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.
The Caine Prize is awarded every year 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 and Ben Okri OBE is Vice President. Dr Lizzy Attree is the Director. 

The Trustees of the Caine Prize are: Alicia Adams, Ellah Wakatama Allfrey, Gus Casely-Hayford, Laurence Cockcroft, Adam Freudenheim, John Niepold, Delia Jarrett-Macauley, Ed Robinson, Fiammetta Rocco, Véronique Tadjo and Jonathan Taylor.
 
Brief details of the new trustees:

Delia Jarrett-Macauley is a writer of Sierra Leonean parentage, based in London. Among her published works is the Orwell-prize winning novel Moses, Citizen and Me. She has published two edited collections, the most recent being Shakespeare, Race and Performance –The Diverse Bard. She has held fellowships at the LSE, Warwick and The Women’s Library, London and is widely experienced in consultancy work particularly in the arts and cultural spheres. http://www.deliajarrettmacauley.com/Delia_Jarrett-Macauley/Biography.html

Augustus Casely-Hayford is a cultural curator, historian and broadcaster of Ghanaian ancestry. He has written and produced programmes for BBC2, BBC World and Channel 4 including the highly regarded Lost Kingdoms of Africa series. He is a cultural historian and teaching fellow at SOAS bringing with him a wealth of experience of the UK Arts sector and international contacts in the arts and broadcasting. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gus_Casely-Hayford

Adam Freudenheim is publisher, managing director and owner of the very successful independent publisher Pushkin Press. Before acquiring Pushkin he held positions with Penguin Press, Granta and Yale University Press. He is a member of the Booker Prize Foundation Advisory Committee. He brings knowledge of the publishing industry along with commercial and financial expertise. http://pushkinpress.com/about/ 

Fiammetta Rocco is third-generation Kenyan living in London and fluent in six languages. She is currently Culture Editor of the Economist. Fiammetta has previously been a wide-ranging and award-winning journalist and a writer of nonfiction. She is the Administrator of the Man Booker International Prize and a trustee of the Edinburgh Literary Festival. She brings experience of prize administration as well as prize judging, and has a strong international reputation. http://themanbookerprize.com/people/fiammetta-rocco

Véronique Tadjo is Ivorienne and resident in London. She is an award-winning author and poet, an artist and academic with a distinguished career until recently as a professor at Wits University in South Africa. She has mentored a significant number of Caine Prize Writers Workshops. http://veroniquetadjo.com/ 
 
The Caine Prize is supported by The Oppenheimer Memorial Trust, The Miles Morland Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Booker Prize Foundation, Sigrid Rausing and Eric Abraham, Imara, The British Council, The Wyfold Charitable Trust, the Royal Over-Seas League, Adam and Victoria Freudenheim, John and Judy Niepold, Arindam Bhattacharjee and other generous donors.
 
For more information:

Henry Gilliver
henry@raittorr.co.uk
020 7922 7719
07725250052

Lidudumalingani wins seventeenth Caine Prize for African Writing

For Immediate Release
Monday, 4 July 2016


Lidudumalingani has won the 2016 Caine Prize for African Writing, described as Africa’s leading literary award, for his short story entitled 'Memories We Lost' published in Incredible Journey: Stories That Move You (Burnet Media, South Africa, 2015). The Chair of Judges, Delia Jarrett-Macauley, announced Lidudumalingani as the winner of the £10,000 prize at a dinner held this evening (Monday, 4 July) at the Bodleian Library in Oxford.

‘Memories We Lost’ tells the emotionally charged story of a girl who acts as protector of her sister, whose serious mental-health problems cause consternation in a South African village. Her situation deteriorates as her care is entrusted to Nkunzi, a local man who employs traditional techniques to rid people of their demons.

Delia Jarrett-Macauley praised the story, saying, "The winning story explores a difficult subject - how traditional beliefs in a rural community are used to tackle schizophrenia. this is a troubling piece, depicting the great love between two young siblings in a beautifully drawn Eastern Cape. Multi-layered, and gracefully narrated, this short story leaves the reader full of sympathy and wonder at the plight of its protagonists".  

Lidudumalingani is a writer, filmmaker and photographer. He was born in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, in a village called Zikhovane. Lidudumalingani has published short stories, non-fiction and criticism in various publications. His films have been screened at a number of film festivals.

Lidudumalingani's story 'Memories We Lost' is available here.

Lidudumalingani was joined on the 2016 shortlist by:

• 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).
Read ‘Genesis’

• Bongani Kona (Zimbabwe) for ‘At Your Requiem’ published in Incredible Journey: Stories That Move You (Burnet Media, South Africa, 2015).
Read ‘At Your Requiem’

•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’
 

The panel of judges was chaired by Delia Jarrett-Macauley – member of the Caine Prize Council and judge for the 2007 Caine Prize for African Writing. She is the author of the literary biographyThe life of Una Marson 1905-1965, and of the Orwell prize-winning novel Moses, Citizen and Me (2005).

Alongside Delia on the panel of judges are: acclaimed film, television and theatre actor, Adjoa Andoh; writer and founding member of the Nairobi-based writers’ collective, Storymoja, and founder of the Storymoja Festival, Muthoni Garland; Associate Professor and Director of African American Studies at Georgetown University, Washington DC, Dr Robert J Patterson; and South African writer and 2006 Caine Prize winner, Mary Watson.

Once again the winner of the Caine Prize will be given the opportunity to take up a month’s residence at Georgetown University, as a Writer-in-Residence at the Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice. The winner will also be invited to speak at the Library of Congress. Each shortlisted writer will also receive £500.  The winner is invited to take part in the Open Book Festival in Cape Town, Storymoja in Nairobi and Ake Festival in Abeokuta, Nigeria.

Last year the Caine Prize was won by Zambian writer Namwali Serpell. Namwali is an associate professor at the University of California, Berkeley English department. Her first book of literary criticism, Seven Modes of Uncertainty, was published in 2014. Since winning the Caine Prize, the world rights to Namwali’s first book of fiction, The Old Drift, were pre-empted and it will be published by Hogarth in the US and Chatto and Windus in the UK.


The New Internationalist 2016 anthology is now published and it includes all of the shortlisted stories along with 12 other short stories written at the Caine Prize 2016 workshop in Zambia. You can buy the anthology at https://newint.org/books/fiction/caine-prize-2016/. The anthology is supplied as a print ready pdf to 8 African co-publishers.

 

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Notes to Editors

About the Caine 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 (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.

Full biographies of the shortlistees are available at http://caineprize.com/2016-shortlist/

Full biographies of the 2016 judges are available at https://caineprize.com/the-judges-2016

This year 166 short stories from writers representing 23 African countries were received and entered into the 2016 Caine Prize before they were whittled down to the final 5. Last year 153 qualifying stories were submitted to the judges from 17 countries.

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 Tope Folarin (2013), Kenyan Okwiri Oduor (2014); and Zambian Namwali Serpell (2015).

The five shortlisted stories, alongside stories written at Caine Prize workshop held in Zambia in March 2016, are published annually by New Internationalist (UK), Jacana Media (South Africa), LanternBooks (United States), Kwani? (Kenya), Sub-Saharan Publishers (Ghana), FEMRITE (Uganda), Bookworld Publishers (Zambia), Langaa Research and Publishing (Cameroon) and amaBooks (Zimbabwe). Books are available from the publishers or from the Africa Book Centre, African Books Collective or Amazon.

The Caine Prize is supported by The Oppenheimer Memorial Trust, The Miles Morland Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Booker Prize Foundation, Sigrid Rausing and Eric Abraham, The British Council, The Wyfold Charitable Trust, the Royal Over-Seas League, Imara, Adam and Victoria Freudenheim, John and Judy Niepold, Arindam Bhattacharjee and other generous donors.

For more information: 

Henry Gilliver

Account Manager

Raitt Orr & Associates

+44(0) 20 7922 7719

+44(0) 77252 50052

 

Seventeenth Caine Prize shortlist announced

The five-writer shortlist for the 2016 Caine Prize for African Writing has been announced by Chair of judges, writer and academic, Delia Jarrett-Macauley. The 2016 shortlist includes a former Caine Prize winner and a former regional winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize.

Delia Jarrett-Macauley described 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.’

She added, ‘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 rivalling 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 comprises:

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)

Read ‘Genesis’

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’ 

The full panel of judges, joining Delia Jarrett-Macauley, includes  acclaimed film, television and theatre actor, Adjoa Andoh; writer and founding member of the Nairobi-based writers’ collective, Storymoja, and founder of the Storymoja Festival, Muthoni Garland; Associate Professor and Director of African American Studies at Georgetown University, Washington DC, Dr Robert J Patterson; and South Africanwriter and 2006 Caine Prize winner, Mary Watson. 

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 4 July. Each shortlisted writer will also 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.

Notes to Editors

About the Caine 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 (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. 

The Caine Prize Workshop in Zambia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

18 March 2016

The Caine Prize in Zambia

Twelve writers from six African countries will convene at the Chaminuka Lodge near Lusaka for thirteen days (18 March – 29 March) to writ­­e, read and discuss work in progress and to learn from Jamal Mahjoub, the writer also known as Parker Bilal, and Ellah Wakatama Allfrey OBE, Caine Prize Deputy Chairperson, literary critic, editor and broadcaster. Both will act as tutors and animateurs.

This year's participants include the 2015 Caine Prize winner, Namwali Serpell (Zambia), as well as NoViolet Bulawayo (Zimbabwe); Chilufya Chilangwa (Zambia); Tope Folarin (Nigeria); Elnathan John (Nigeria); Billy Kahora (Kenya); Bwanga Kapumpa (Zambia); FT Kola (South Africa); Kafula Mwila (Zambia); Masande Ntshanga (South Africa); Timwa Lipenga (Malawi); and Okwiri Oduor (Kenya). 

Award-winning author Jamal Mahjoub, who, along with Ellah Allfrey, will facilitate the workshop this year, said: “The annual workshop allows writers a unique chance to develop their work and to see themselves as part of a literary community. It is always exciting to meet new writers and to help them realise their potential. The workshop is, in my view, one of the most important aspects of the Caine Prize.”

Director of the Caine Prize, Dr Lizzy Attree said: "As Namwali Serpell won the 2015 Caine Prize we are pleased to bring the workshop, for the first time, to her home in Zambia. We are also very pleased to be supported by Carnegie Corporation of New York.” Jonathan Taylor, Chair of the Caine Prize Council, added: “We are hugely grateful for the support of Carnegie Corporation of New York for this important workshop in Zambia, which is likely again to be the launch pad for many successful literary careers.”

During the workshop, the writers will be expected to write a short story for the 2016 Caine Prize anthology, which will be published in the UK by New Internationalist in the summer, and subsequently by a network of co-publishers. Alongside Interlink in the USA, eight African publishers receive a print ready PDF to print in their country, they include: Jacana Media (South Africa), Lantern Books (Nigeria), Kwani? (Kenya), Sub-Saharan Publishers (Ghana), FEMRITE (Uganda), Gadsden Publishers (Zambia), 'amaBooks (Zimbabwe) and Langaa (Cameroon).

The workshop will incorporate a visit to local schools and a public event.

-Ends-

Notes to Editors

About the Caine 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 (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.

This year 166 short stories from writers representing 23 African countries were received and entered into the 2016 Caine Prize. Last year 153 qualifying stories were submitted to the judges from 17 countries.

Full biographies of the 2016 judges are available at https://caineprize.com 

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.

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 Tope Folarin (2013), Kenyan Okwiri Oduor (2014); and Zambian Namwali Serpell (2015). 

The five shortlisted stories, alongside stories written at Caine Prize workshop to be held in Zambia in March 2016, are published annually by New Internationalist (UK), Jacana Media (South Africa), LanternBooks (United States), Kwani? (Kenya), Sub-Saharan Publishers (Ghana), FEMRITE (Uganda), Bookworld Publishers (Zambia), Langaa Research and Publishing (Cameroon) and ‘amaBooks (Zimbabwe). Books are available from the publishers or from the Africa Book Centre, African Books Collective or Amazon. 

The New Internationalist 2015 anthology was published in July 2015 (ISBN 978-1-78026-228-4) and is available at http://newint.org/books/fiction/caine-prize-2015/

The Caine Prize is supported by The Oppenheimer Memorial Trust, The Miles Morland Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Booker Prize Foundation, Sigrid Rausing & Eric Abraham, Prudential Plc, The Beit Trust, CSL Stockbrokers, the Morel Trust, The British Council, The Wyfold Charitable Trust, the Royal Over-Seas League, Commonwealth Writers, an initiative of the Commonwealth Foundation, Adam and Victoria Freudenheim, John and Judy Niepold, Arindam Bhattacherjee and other generous donors.

Key dates:

·        Early May – shortlist announced

·        4 July – winner announced at a dinner in Oxford

For further information, photos or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Nick Stanton

nick@raittorr.co.uk

07480472616

020 7922 771

Caine Prize sees a record number of entries

In its seventeenth year the Caine Prize for African Writing has received a record breaking number of eligible entries: 166 short stories from writers representing 23 African countries. The 2016 judges, who were announced in London last month, will meet in early May to decide on the shortlisted stories, which will be announced shortly thereafter. 

The panel of judges will be chaired by the distinguished author and broadcaster Delia Jarrett-Macauley. She will be joined by the acclaimed film, television and theatre actor, Adjoa Andoh; the writer and founding member of the Nairobi based writers’ collective, Storymoja, and founder of the Storymoja Festival, Muthoni Garland; Associate Professor and Director of African American Studies at Georgetown University, Washington DC, Dr Robert J Patterson; and South African writer, and 2006 Caine Prize winner, Mary Watson. 

Caine Prize Director, Dr Lizzy Attree, commented on the entries, saying: “Once again we have received a record number of entries and we are delighted that so many of the best writers and publishers in Africa chose to submit their work. We are also excited to see an increase in the number of countries represented among the work submitted. Alongside nations with long histories of representation in both our shortlist and the roll call of winners, countries, like Ethiopia, Burundi, Equatorial Guinea, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Gambia, entered work which our judges now have the enviable task of reading and judging.

Today the Caine Prize is  launching a redesigned website, Dr Attree commented on this, saying, “We are proud to launch our versatile and redesigned www.caineprize.com today which was made possible thanks to generous support from Sigrid Rausing.”

Once again, Blackwell Hall, Bodleian Libraries, in Oxford, UK, will host the Caine Prize award ceremony on Monday 4 July 2016.

 “The Sack” by Zambian Namwali Serpell won the 2015 prize and is included in the Caine Prize 2015 anthology, Lusaka Punk, which includes all shortlisted stories and others. Chair of judges Zoë Wicomb praised the story, when it won, saying, “From a very strong shortlist we have picked an extraordinary story about the aftermath of revolution with its liberatory promises shattered. It makes demands on the reader and challenges conventions of the genre. It yields fresh meaning with every reading.  Formally innovative, stylistically stunning, haunting and enigmatic in its effects. ‘The Sack’ is a truly luminous winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing.”

-Ends-

Notes to Editors

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 (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. 

This year 166 short stories from writers representing 23 African countries were received and entered into the 2016 Caine Prize. Last year 153 qualifying stories were submitted to the judges from 17 countries.

Full biographies of the 2016 judges are available at http://caineprize.com/the-judges-2016/ 

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. 

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 Tope Folarin (2013), Kenyan Okwiri Oduor (2014); and Zambian Namwali Serpell (2015). 

The five shortlisted stories, alongside stories written at Caine Prize workshop to be held in Zambia in March 2016, are published annually by New Internationalist (UK), Jacana Media (South Africa), Lantern  Books (United States), Kwani? (Kenya), Sub-Saharan Publishers (Ghana), FEMRITE (Uganda), Bookworld Publishers (Zambia), Langaa Research and Publishing (Cameroon) and ‘amaBooks (Zimbabwe).

Books are available from the publishers or from the Africa Book Centre, African Books Collective or Amazon. The New Internationalist 2015 anthology was published in July 2015 (ISBN 978-1-78026-228-4) and is available at http://newint.org/books/fiction/caine-prize-2015/ 

The Caine Prize is supported by The Oppenheimer Memorial Trust, The Miles Morland Foundation, The Carnegie Corporation, the Booker Prize Foundation, Sigrid Rausing & Eric Abraham, Prudential Plc, The Beit Trust, CSL Stockbrokers, the Morel Trust, The British Council, The Wyfold Charitable Trust, the Royal Over-Seas League, Commonwealth Writers, an initiative of the Commonwealth Foundation, Adam and Victoria Freudenheim, John and Judy Niepold, Arindam Bhattacherjee and other generous donors.

Key dates:

  • Early May – shortlist announced
  • 4 July – winner announced at dinner in Oxford

For further information, photos or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Nick Stanton: nick@raittorr.co.uk, 07480472616, 020 7922 7712