The shortlist for the 2011 Caine Prize for African Writing has been announced today (Monday 9 May). The Caine Prize, widely known as the 'African Booker' and regarded as Africa's leading literary award, is now in its twelfth year. The chair of judges, the award-winning Libyan novelist Hisham Matar, said "choosing a shortlist out of nearly 130 entries was not an easy task - one made more difficult and yet more enjoyable by the varied tastes of the judges - but we have arrived at a list of five stories that excel in quality and ambition. Together they represent a portrait of today's African short story: its wit and intelligence, its concerns and preoccupations."
Selected from 126 entries from 17 African countries, the shortlist is once again a reflection of the Caine Prize's pan-African reach. The winner of the £10,000 prize is to be announced at a celebratory dinner at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, on Monday 11 July.
The 2011 shortlist comprises:
As always the stories are available to read online on our website.
Joining Hisham on the judging panel this year are Granta deputy editor Ellah Allfrey, publisher, film and travel writer Vicky Unwin, Georgetown University Professor and poet David Gewanter and the award-winning author Aminatta Forna. Once again the winner of the £10,000 Caine Prize will be given the opportunity of taking up a month's residence at Georgetown University, Washington DC, as a 'Caine Prize/Georgetown University Writer-in-Residence.' The award will cover all travel and living expenses.
Last year the Caine Prize was won by Sierra Leonean writer Olufemi Terry. As the then Chair of judges, Fiammetta Rocco, said at the time, the story was "ambitious, brave and hugely imaginative. Olufemi Terry's 'Stickfighting Days' presents a heroic culture that is Homeric in its scale and conception. The execution of this story is so tight and the presentation so cinematic, it confirms Olufemi Terry as a talent with an enormous future."
Previous winners include Uganda's Monica Arac de Nyeko, for 'Jambula Tree' from 'African Love Stories', Ayebia Clarke Publishing, 2006, and Binyavanga Wainaina, from Kenya, who founded the well-known literary magazine, Kwani?, to publish work by new Kenyan writers.
This year the shortlisted writers will be reading from their work at the Royal Over-Seas League on Friday, 8 July at 7pm and at the London Literature Festival at the Southbank Centre, on Sunday, 10 July at 7pm.
Read a short biography of the five shortlisted writers here.
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