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The judges of this year’s Caine Prize for African Writing have been announced.
The panel will be chaired by art historian and broadcaster - Dr Gus Casely-Hayford. He will be joined by award-winning Nigerian-born artist, Sokari Douglas Camp; author, columnist and Lord Northcliffe Emeritus Professor at UCL, John Sutherland; Assistant Professor at Georgetown University, Professor Nathan Hensley and the winner of the Caine Prize in its inaugural year, Leila Aboulela. This is the first time that a past winner of the £10,000 Caine Prize will take part in the judging.
This year, 96 qualifying stories have been submitted to the judges from 16 African countries. The judges will meet in early May to decide on the shortlisted stories, which will be announced shortly thereafter. The winning story will be announced at a dinner at the Bodleian Library in Oxford on Monday 8 July.
The five shortlisted stories, alongside the stories written at the Caine Prize workshops are published annually by New Internationalist (UK), Jacana Media (South Africa), Cassava Republic (Nigeria), Kwani? (Kenya), Sub-Saharan Publishers (Ghana), FEMRITE (Uganda), Bookworld Publishers (Zambia) and ‘amaBooks (Zimbabwe).
Included in the 2012 anthology is the story by last year’s Nigerian winner, Rotimi Babatunde. Chair of judges Bernardine Evaristo said at the time, “Bombay's Republic vividly describes the story of a Nigerian soldier fighting in the Burma campaign of World War Two. It is ambitious, darkly humorous and in soaring, scorching prose exposes the exploitative nature of the colonial project and the psychology of Independence.”
The Caine Prize, awarded annually for African creative writing, is named after the late Sir Michael Caine, former Chairman of Booker plc and Chairman of the Booker Prize Management Committee for nearly 25 years. The Prize is awarded for a short story by an African writer published in English (indicative length 3,000 to 10,000 words). An “African writer” is normally taken to mean someone who was born in Africa, or who is a national of an African country, or whose parents are African.
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. Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne is President of the Council, Ben Okri OBE is Vice President, Jonathan Taylor CBE is the Chairman and Ellah Allfrey OBE is the Deputy Chairperson.
Caine Prize anthologies are available from the publishers or from the Africa Book Centre, African Books Collective or Amazon. The New Internationalist edition of African Violet was published in July 2012.
Previous winners of the Caine Prize are Sudan’s Leila Aboulela (2000), Nigerian Helon Habila (2001), Kenyan Binyavanga Wainaina (2002), Kenyan Yvonne Owuor (2003), Zimbabwean Brian Chikwava (2004), Nigerian Segun Afolabi (2005), South African Mary Watson (2006), Ugandan Monica Arac de Nyeko (2007), South African Henrietta Rose-Innes (2008), Nigerian EC Osondu (2009), Sierra Leonean Olufemi Terry (2010), Zimbabwean NoViolet Bulawayo (2011) and Nigerian Rotimi Babatunde (2012).
The Caine Prize is principally sponsored by The Oppenheimer Memorial Trust, the Booker Prize Foundation, Weatherly International plc, China Africa Resources, CSL Stockbrokers and Miles Morland. Other funders include the British Council, The Beit Trust, The Thistle Trust, the Royal Overseas League and Kenya Airways.