Monday, July 08, 2013

Tope Folarin Wins Caine Prize for African Writing 2013

Monday July 8, 2013: The Caine Prize for African Writing announced the winner of its announced Nigerian Tope Folarin as the winner of the 14th Caine Prize for African Writing with his story Miracle published in Transition, Issue 109 (Bloomington, 2012).

The Chair of Judges, Gus Casely-Hayford, announced Tope Folarin as the winner of the £10,000 prize at a dinner held this evening (Monday, 8 July) at the Bodleian Library in Oxford. Miracle is a story set in Texas in an evangelical Nigerian church where the congregation has gathered to witness the healing powers of a blind pastor-prophet. Religion and the gullibility of those caught in the deceit that sometimes comes with faith rise to the surface as a young boy volunteers to be healed and begins to believe in miracles.

Gus Casely-Hayford praised the story, saying: 
Tope Folarin's ‘Miracle’ is another superb Caine Prize winner – a delightful and beautifully paced narrative, that is exquisitely observed and utterly compelling. 
Tope Folarin is the recipient of writing fellowships from the Institute for Policy Studies and Callaloo, and he serves on the board of the Hurston/Wright Foundation. Tope was educated at Morehouse College, and the University of Oxford, where he earned two Master’s degrees as a Rhodes Scholar. He lives and works in Washington, DC. Also shortlisted were: 
  • Pede Hollist (Sierra Leone) ‘Foreign Aid’ from Journal of Progressive Human Services, Vol. 23.3 (Philadelphia, 2012)
  • Abubakar Adam Ibrahim (Nigeria) ‘The Whispering Trees’ from The Whispering Trees, published by Parrésia Publishers (Lagos, 2012)
  • Elnathan John (Nigeria) ‘Bayan Layi’ from Per Contra, Issue 25 (USA, 2012)
  • Chinelo Okparanta (Nigeria) ‘America’ from Granta, Issue 118 (London, 2012)
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, as a Writer-in-Residence at the Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice and will be invited to take part in the Open Book Festival in Cape Town in September. Last year the Caine Prize was won by Nigerian writer Rotimi Babatunde


  1. Actually I was rooting for Abubakar! Congrats to Tope. have you read the short list?

    1. I didn't have a favourite since I never read the shortlists. I was fed-up with the kind of stories they shortlist as 'African Writing'. I see this award as an attempt to entrench the Western myopic view of Africa as a place of disease, death, poverty, hunger etc. Yet, anywhere I go I see them trooping in, having fun, doing the things they could never have done in their countries.

    2. LOL... you made me laugh out loud. absolutely spot-on. Well, I think this year's shortlist was quite a bit different. Give it a try when you have a chance. There was lesbianism and all that.. LOL..

    3. Yes I heard there was a lesbianism story and others. And it is because of that that I am not reading. Last year or so there was a story titled Love on Trial by Stanley Kenani. The story was supposed to be a pastiche of a real gay issue that occurred in Malawi where two people were jailed for being gays. It was poorly written, and uninteresting that the only way that it was shortlisted was because of the theme. Now the question is: 'Is the Caine Prize for those who write about seemingly taboo subjects or for quality writing?'

      I said in that review gay stories are going to be the new craze in Africa at the expense of better/quality writing, just as the NGO-ish stories have taken scene by storm and runaway with it. And just a year after, another gay story in the shortlist. Won't bother.


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