I had always known that the announcement of the Caine Prize for African Writing would fall on my birthday. However, in joyful and thoughtful moods that birthdays always bestow upon its adult celebrants, I entirely forgot to follow the announcement on twitter. Thanks, however, to the internet I have been able to retrieve the announcement of the winner.
Zimbabwe’s NoViolet Bulawayo has won the 2011 Caine Prize for African Writing, described as Africa’s leading literary award, for her short story entitled ‘Hitting Budapest’, from The Boston Review, Vol 35, no. 6 – Nov/Dec 2010.
The Chair of Judges, award-winning author Hisham Matar, announced NoViolet Bulawayo as the winner of the £10,000 prize at a dinner held this evening (Monday 11 July) at the Bodleian Library in Oxford.
Hisham Matar said:
The language of ‘Hitting Budapest’ crackles. Here we encounter Darling, Bastard, Chipo, Godknows, Stina and Sbho, a gang reminiscent of Clockwork Orange. But these are children, poor and violated and hungry. This is a story with moral power and weight, it has the artistry to refrain from moral commentary. NoViolet Bulawayo is a writer who takes delight in language.
NoViolet Bulawayo was born and raised in Zimbabwe. She recently completed her MFA at Cornell University, in the US, where she is now a Truman Capote Fellow and Lecturer of English. Another of her stories, ‘Snapshots’, was shortlisted for the 2009 SA PEN/Studzinski Literary Award. NoViolet has recently completed a novel manuscript tentatively titled We Need New Names, and has begun work on a memoir project.
Also shortlisted were:
- Lauri Kubuitsile (Botswana) ‘In the spirit of McPhineas Lata’ from The Bed Book of Short Stories published by Modjaji Books, SA, 2010
- Tim Keegan (South Africa) ‘What Molly Knew’ from Bad Company published by Pan Macmillan SA, 2008
- David Medalie (South Africa) ‘The Mistress’s Dog’, from The Mistress’s Dog: Short stories, 1996-2010 published by Picador Africa, 2010
- Beatrice Lamwaka (Uganda) ‘Butterfly dreams’ from Butterfly Dreams and Other New Short Stories from Uganda published by Critical, Cultural and Communications Press, Nottingham, 2010
He is joined on the panel by 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 to take 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 Sudan’s Leila Aboulela, winner of the first Caine Prize in 2000, whose new novel Lyrics Alley was published in January 2010 by Weidenfeld & Nicolson, as well as Binyavanga Wainaina, from Kenya, who founded the well-known literary magazine, Kwani?, dedicated to promoting the work of new Kenyan writers and whose memoir One Day I Will Write About this Place will be published by Granta Books in November 2011.
You can read the winning story here.
[Courtesy: Wealth of Ideas]