The Caine Prize for African Writing is a literature prize awarded annually which recognizes an African writer who has published a short story in English. The prize aims to highlight the diversity of African writing and to bring attention to it on an international scale. The Caine Prize releases a shortlist of five authors before announcing the winner.
This year's shortlist includes the prize's oldest shortlistee and one of its youngest, as well as the second ever story to be translated from the original Arabic. Professor Ricardo Ortiz is a member of the judging committee which read and ranked nearly 150 entries whose authors hail from 22 different African countries.
Fellow panelist described the experience:
This year’s submissions were a pleasure to read; we were all impressed by the quality and imaginative ambition of the work received. Indeed, there were a dozen stories that did not make the shortlist that would win other competitions there seemed to be a theme of transition in many of the stories. Whether it’s an ancient myth brought to life in a contemporary setting, a cyber attack-triggered wave of migration and colonisation, an insatiable quest for motherhood, an entertaining surreal ride that hints at unspeakable trauma, or the loss of a parent in the midst of a personal identity crisis, these writers juxtapose future, past and present to ask important questions about the world we live in.
Although they range in tone from the satirical to the surreal, all five stories on this year’s shortlist are unrelentingly haunting. It has been a wonderful journey so far and we look forward to selecting a winner. It will be a hard job, but I’ve always believed that you can’t go wrong with a Ghanaian at the helm of an international panel.
You can read the five shortlisted stories HERE.