The Prize is named in celebration of the late Sir Michael Caine, former Chairman of Booker plc, who was Chairman of the 'Africa 95' arts festival in Europe and Africa in 1995 and for nearly 25 years Chairman of the Booker Prize management committee.
Shortly before he died, Sir Michael Caine was working on the idea of a prize to encourage the growing recognition of the worth of African writing in English, its richness and diversity, by bringing it to a wider audience. His friends and colleagues decided to carry this idea forward and establish a prize of £10,000 to be awarded annually in his memory.
As he intended, the Caine Prize is open to writers from anywhere in Africa for work published in English. Its focus is on the short story, reflecting the contemporary development of the African story-telling tradition.
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.
The Prize is planning to expand, thanks to generous sponsorship, and has set writers' workshops in South Africa, Kenya, Ghana and Cameroon to date.
In its first year the Prize attracted entries from 20 African countries. The Caine Prize is awarded to a work (a short story) by an African writer published in English, whether in Africa or elsewhere. (Please refer to the rules for further details about criteria for entry).
The Prize has been supported by a number of organisations and friends of Sir Michael Caine in the UK, Europe, USA, China and Africa, the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust, the Booker Prize Foundation, Miles Morland, Weatherly International plc, China Africa Resources plc, CSL Stockbrokers, the British Council, the Zochonis Foundation, the Marit & Hans Rausing Foundation, the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, the Headley Trust, the Esmee Fairbairn Charitable Trust, the David Alliance Family Foundation, the Cairns Charitable Trust, the Botwinick-Wolfensohn Family Foundation, the Sunrise Foundation, the Von Clemm Charitable Trust, the Gibbs Trust, the Thistle Trust, the Beit Trust, the Royal Over-Seas League, Commonwealth Writers, the cultural initiative from the Commonwealth Foundation, The Lennox and Wyfold Foundation, Sarova Hotels, Bata Shoes (Kenya) Ltd and (Zimbabwe) Ltd and Kenya Airways.
The African winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature - Wole Soyinka, Nadine Gordimer and J M Coetzee - are Patrons of the Caine Prize, as is Chinua Achebe, winner of the Man Booker International Prize. Ben Okri, Nigerian Winner of the Booker Prize, is the Vice-President and chaired the first panel of Caine Prize Judges, in 2000.
For a full list of the Council Members click here
copyright 2009 The Caine Prize