The shortlist for the thirteenth Caine Prize for African Writing was released on May 1st, 2012. The shortlist was announced by the new vice-president of the prize Ben Okri. The Chair of judges, author and Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature Bernardine Evaristo MBE, has described the shortlist as 'truly diverse fiction from a truly diverse continent.'
The 2012 shortlist comprises:
- Rotimi Babatunde (Nigeria): Bombay's Republic from Mirabilia Review Vol. 3.9 (Lagos, 2011)
- Billy Kahora (Kenya): Urban Zoning from McSweeney's Vol. 37 (San Francisco, 2011)
- Stanley Kenani (Malawi): Love on Trial from For honour and Other Stories published by eKhaya/Random House Struik (Cape Town, 2011)
- Melissa Tandiwe Myambo (Zimbabwe): La Salle de D from Patrick of the Spindle Vol. 4.2 (New Orleans, June, 2010)
- Constance Myburgh (South Africa): Hunter Emmanuel from Jungle Jim Issue 6 (Cape Town, 2011)
I'm proud to announce that this shortlist shows the range of African fiction beyond the more stereotypical narratives. These stories have an originality and facility with language that made them stand out. We've chosen a bravely provocative homosexual story set in Malawi; a Nigerian soldier fighting in the Burma Campaign of WW2; a hardboiled noir tale involving a disembodied leg; a drunk young Kenyan who outwits his irate employers; and the tension between Senegalese siblings over migration and family responsibility.
The winner of the 10,000 Pounds prize is to be announced at the celebratory dinner at the Bodleian Library, Oxford on Monday 2 July. Read more about the announcement here.
For those interested let's read this and make our own guesses of the winner. If Evaristo's words and the descriptions provided are anything to go by, this year's winner will be far different from the previous three or four where some readers have criticised the prize for awarding stereotypes. I will be reading and reviewing or talking about these before the July 2 date.