The Caine Prize for African Writing will return to Zimbabwe in its fifteenth year to hold its annual workshop this month. The inaugural Caine Prize was awarded to Leila Aboulela in 2000, at the Zimbabwe International Book Fair in Harare.
Thirteen writers from seven African countries will convene at the Leopard Rock Hotel for twelve days (21 March - 2 April) to write, read and discuss work in progress and to learn from two experienced writers, Nii Parkes and Henrietta Rose-Innes who will act as tutors and animateurs.
This year’s participants include four 2013 shortlisted writers; Abubakar Ibrahim (Nigeria), Elnathan John (Nigeria), Chinelo Okparanta (Nigeria) and Pede Hollist (Sierra Leone) and nine other promising writers; Martin Egblewogbe (Ghana), Abdul Adan (Somalia), Clifton Gachagua (Kenya), Nkiacha Atemnkeng (Cameroon) and Barbara Mhangami-Ruwende, Philani Nyoni, Bella Matambanadzo, Lawrence Hoba and Bryony Rheam from Zimbabwe.
During the workshop, the writers will be expected to write a short story for inclusion in the 2014 Caine Prize anthology, which will be published by New Internationalist on 1 July 2014 and subsequently by seven co-publishers in Africa. Each year the stories conceived at the workshops are automatically entered for the following year’s Prize.
The primary supporter of this year's workshop is the Beit Trust. Supplementary funding is provided by the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust, Exotix, Cambria and the British Council.
Dr Lizzy Attree commented on the significance of holding the workshop in Zimbabwe this year: “The Caine Prize is delighted to be back in Zimbabwe for its twelfth workshop. The success of NoViolet Bulawayo has inspired so many writers and we are keen to nurture talent both at the workshop and by visiting local schools.”
The programme will include a visit to local senior schools, giving students the opportunity to interact with the writers.
The workshop will also incorporate two public events in Harare; the first in collaboration with the British Council and Harare City Library, which will be held at the Library (by invitation) on 1st April. It will include a discussion about contemporary African literature after which there will be opportunities to meet the writers and purchase signed copies of the anthology from AmaBooks, over a complimentary glass of wine.
The second event, sponsored by Meikles Mega Market and Meikles Foundation, will be held the following day at 10am at Tambira hub in the new Meikles Mega Market. The open forum entitled “Caine Prize Writers in the Supermarket” will be chaired by Tinashe Mushakavanhu, and is free for the public to attend. The writers will also be treated to a surprise tour of Meikles Hotel.
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