The Caine Prize for African Writing is named in memory of the late Sir Michael Caine, former Chairman of Booker plc. He was Chairman of Africa 95, and Chairman of the Booker Prize management committee for almost 25 years.
The first prize was awarded in 2000, at the Zimbabwe International Book Fair 2000 in Harare, and the 2001 Prize at the Nairobi Book Fair in September 2001. The winner is announced at a dinner in Oxford in July, to which the shortlisted candidates are all invited. This is part of a week of activities for the candidates, including bookreadings, booksignings and press opportunities.
Zambia’s Namwali Serpell has won the 2015 Caine Prize for African Writing, described as Africa’s leading literary award, for her short story entitled “The Sack” from Africa39 (Bloomsbury, London, 2014).
The Chair of Judges, Zoë Wicomb, announced Namwali Serpell as the winner of the £10,000 prize at a dinner held this evening (Monday, 6 July) at the Bodleian Library in Oxford.
“The Sack” explores a world where dreams and reality are both claustrophobic and dark. The relationship between two men and an absent woman are explored though troubled interactions and power relationships which jar with the views held by the characters.
Zoë Wicomb praised the story, 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.”
Namwali Serpell’s first published story, “Muzungu,” was selected for the Best American Short Stories 2009 and shortlisted for the 2010 Caine Prize for African Writing. In 2014, she was selected as one of the most promising African writers for the Africa 39 Anthology, a project of the Hay festival. Her writing has appeared in Tin House, The Believer, n+1, McSweeney’s (forthcoming), Bidoun, Callaloo, The San Francisco Chronicle, The L.A. Review of Books, and The Guardian. She is an associate professor in the University of California, Berkeley English department; her first book of literary criticism, Seven Modes of Uncertainty, was published in 2014.
The panel of judges is chaired by South African writer and recipient of Yale’s 2013 Windham-Campbell Prize for fiction Zoë Wicomb. Zoë‘s works of fiction are You Can’t Get Lost in Cape Town, David’s Story, Playing in the Light, The One That Got Away and October. She currently lives in Scotland where she is Emeritus Professor in English Studies at Strathclyde University. Her critical work is on Postcolonial theory and South African writing and culture.
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. 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.
"Lusaka Punk and Other Stories", the anthology containing the five shortlisted stories for The Caine Prize for African Writing 2015 is now available.
Buy it here...
Entries for the 2016 prize are now open. The deadline for entries is 31st January 2016.
Would you like to enter this year's prize?
Learn how here....
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