Shortlist for 2019 Caine Prize for African Writing announced

The five writers shortlisted for the 20th edition of the Caine Prize were announced in London on Monday

21 May 2019 - 13:31 By Mila de Villiers
The five shortlisted authors for the 2019 Caine Prize for African Writing.
The five shortlisted authors for the 2019 Caine Prize for African Writing.
Image: Caine Prize of African Writing

The shortlist for the 20th edition of the Caine Prize for African Writing was announced by this year's chair of judges, Peter Kimani, on Monday May 20.

The 2019 shortlist consists of five writers, from Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya and Nigeria, with their stories hailed for tackling "the ordinary in an extraordinary manner". 

Kimani, author of the award-winning novel, Dance of the Jakaranda, said: "This is a special year for the Caine Prize for African Writing, as it marks its twentieth anniversary. It's a milestone that affords for both a reflection on the past and a projection into the future.

"Without exception, past Caine Prize winners have been revolutionary and evolutionary - breaking fresh ground while pushing the African story from the margins to the mainstream of world literature.

"The five writers on this year's shortlist carry on with that tradition, not just in their inventiveness in imagining the world, but also in tackling the ordinary in an extraordinary manner, in a wide range of issues: gender and generation; home and exile; sexuality and religion; love and hate; happiness and heartbreak."

The shortlist

  • Lesley Nneka Arimah (Nigeria) for Skinned, published in McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, Issue 53 (2018).

  • Meron Hadero (Ethiopia) for The Wall, published in McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, Issue 52 (2018).

  • Cherrie Kandie (Kenya) for Sew My Mouth, published in ID Identity: New Short Fiction From Africa (2018).

  • Ngwah-Mbo Nana Nkweti (Cameroon) for It Takes A Village Some Say, published in The Baffler (2017).

  • Tochukwu Emmanuel Okafor (Nigeria) for All Our Lives, published in ID Identity: New Short Fiction From Africa (2018).

Kimani aside, the 2019 judging panel comprises of Nigerian author and playwright Sefi Atta, shortlisted for the 2006 Caine Prize; acclaimed South African author Margie Orford; Prof Scott Taylor, director of the African Studies Programme at Georgetown University; and Olufemi Terry, Sierra Leone-born author and recipient of the 2010 Caine Prize.

The winner of this year's £10,000 (about R183,000) prize will be announced at an award ceremony at SOAS University of London in July. Each shortlisted writer will also receive £500 (about R9,000).

The shortlisted stories will be printed by the UK's New Internationalist in a special publication to mark the 20th anniversary of the prize, and through co-publishers in 16 African countries, including South Africa.

Visit the website for more information on this coveted prize. 


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