131 eligible submissions from 21 countries entered into the 2019 Caine Prize for African Writing

4 April 2019

131 eligible submissions from 21 countries entered into the 2019 Caine Prize for African Writing

Caine Prize 2019 - submissions.jpg

The Caine Prize for African Writing, which will announce its twentieth winner this year, has received 131 qualifying submissions from 21 African countries. This year’s entries come from all over the continent, from Angola to Zambia, Liberia and Tanzania, representing a diversity of cultures and perspectives. A full list of countries represented can be found in the Notes to Editors.

The judges will meet in London at the end of April to select the five stories to be included in the 2019 shortlist, and will announce their selection in May. The judging panel will be chaired by Kenyan writer Dr Peter Kimani, author of the critically acclaimed Dance of the Jakaranda. He will be joined by Nigerian playwright Sefi Atta, shortlisted for the Caine Prize in 2006; Professor Scott Taylor, Director of the African Studies programme at Georgetown University; internationally renowned author Margie Orford; and Sierra Leone-born journalist Olufemi Terry, who was awarded the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2010.

Each writer shortlisted for the 2019 Caine Prize will be awarded £500, and the winner will receive a £10,000 prize. If a work in translation is chosen as the winning story, the prize will be shared between the author and the translator.

Commenting on this year’s submissions, Caine Prize Chair Ellah Wakatama Allfrey OBE said: “To receive year on year such a wide variety of submissions from writers across the continent is testament to the enduring vitality of the Caine Prize, as it celebrates African literature for the twentieth year. I am thrilled to see that we have received entries from Swaziland – first represented in 2017 – again this year, and that the list also includes works from Zambia, Liberia, Uganda, Sudan and Ethiopia. The judges now have the enviable task of reading all the eligible entries and choosing just five stories to be included in this year’s shortlist. I look forward to reading their selection.”

The twentieth winner of the Caine Prize will be announced at an award dinner on Monday 8 July at Senate House, University of London, in partnership with SOAS and with the support of the Centre for African Studies. Senate House has hosted the Caine Prize award ceremony for the past two years.

Since the inception of the Caine Prize, each year the shortlisted stories have been compiled into an official anthology. This is published by New Internationalist in the UK, Interlink Publishing in the USA, and a variety of international publishers around the world.

Last year the anthologies were co-published with partners in nine African countries: ‘amaBooks (Zimbabwe), Gadsden Publishers (Zambia), FEMRITE (Uganda), Huza Press (Rwanda), Jacana Media (South Africa), Kwani? (Kenya), Mkuki na Nyota (Tanzania), Lantern Books (Nigeria), Sub-Saharan Publishers (Ghana) and Redsea Cultural Foundation (Somaliland, Somalia, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, South Sudan and UAE).


Notes to Editors

The Caine Prize – often described as Africa’s leading literary award – is granted annually for African creative writing. It 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 21 countries represented in this year’s eligible submissions are: Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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 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, Ellah Wakatama Allfrey OBE is the Caine Prize Chair, Adam Freudenheim is Deputy Chairperson, and Dele Fatunla is the Administrator of the Prize.

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), South African Lidudumalingani (2016), Sudanese Bushra al-Fadil (2017); and Kenyan Makena Onjerika (2018).

The Caine Prize anthology has been published annually by New Internationalist (UK), Interlink Publishing (USA), Jacana Media (South Africa), Lantern Books (Nigeria), Kwani? (Kenya), Sub-Saharan Publishers (Ghana), FEMRITE (Uganda), ‘amaBooks (Zimbabwe), Mkuki na Nyota (Tanzania), Redsea Cultural Foundation (Somaliland, Somalia, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, South Sudan and UAE), Gadsden Publishers (Zambia) and Huza Press (Rwanda). Books are available from the publishers or from the Africa Book Centre, African Books Collective or Amazon.

The Caine Prize is principally supported by The Oppenheimer Memorial Trust, The Miles Morland Foundation, The Carnegie Corporation, the Booker Prize Foundation, The Sigrid Rausing Trust, the Royal Over-Seas League and John and Judy Niepold. Other funders and partners include, The British Council, Georgetown University (USA), The Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice, The van Agtmael Family Charitable Fund, Rupert and Clare McCammon, Adam and Victoria Freudenheim, Arindam Bhattacherjee, Phillip Ihenacho and other generous donors.

For more information
James Killin
020 7922 7719

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