The judges of this year’s Caine Prize for African Writing were announced today at the Ake Arts and Book Festival in Abeokuta, Nigeria. The panel will be chaired by award-winning South African author Zoë Wicomb. She will be joined by the distinguished television and radio journalist Zeinab Badawi, Indian author and Man Booker Prize shortlistee Neel Mukherjee, Assistant Professor of English at the University of Georgetown Cóilín Parsons, and Brian Chikwava, the winner of the Caine Prize in 2004.
During the announcement Caine Prize Director Lizzy Attree stated, “We are proud to announce the 2015 judges early this year and hope the calibre of this outstanding panel will encourage publishers to enter stories before the deadline of 31 January 2015.”
Last year a record 140 qualifying stories were submitted to the judges from 17 African countries. The judges will meet in late April 2015 to decide on the shortlisted stories, which will be announced shortly thereafter. £500 will be awarded to each shortlisted writer. The winning story will be announced at a dinner at the Bodleian Library in Oxford on Monday 6 July 2015.
The five shortlisted stories, alongside the stories written at the annual Caine Prize workshop, are published annually by New Internationalist in the UK and publishers in eight African countries; ‘amaBooks (Zimbabwe), Bookworld Publishers (Zambia), Cassava Republic (Nigeria), FEMRITE (Uganda), Jacana Media (South Africa), Kwani? (Kenya), Langaa Research and Publishing CIG (Cameroon), Lantern Books (Nigeria) and Sub-Saharan Publishers (Ghana).
Caine Prize workshops are held in Africa for writers who have been shortlisted for the Caine Prize and other talented writers who have come to the Prize’s attention through the selection process. Each workshop consists of 12 writers from different African countries, who convene for ten days to read and discuss work in progress and to learn from two more experienced writers, who act as tutors or animateurs. It is planned that next year’s workshop, which will be the thirteenth, will be held in Ghana.
Included in the 2014 anthology is the story by this year’s Kenyan winner, Okwiri Oduor. Jackie Kay MBE, chair of the 2014 judging panel said of the author, "Okwiri Oduor is a writer we are all really excited to have discovered. ‘My Father's Head’ is an uplifting story about mourning - Joycean in its reach. She exercises an extraordinary amount of control and yet the story is subtle, tender and moving. It is a story you want to return to the minute you finish it."
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