2007 Caine Prize winner announced

2007 Caine Prize winner announced

Uganda’s Monica Arac de Nyeko has won the 2007 Caine Prize for African Writing, described as Africa’s leading literary award, for Jambula Tree from ‘African Love Stories’, Ayebia Clarke Publishing 2006. The Chair of Judges, Jamal Mahjoub from Sudan, announced Monica as the winner of the £10,000 prize at a dinner held this evening (Monday, 9 July) in the Bodleian Library in Oxford.

Jamal Mahjoub described her story as “a witty and touching portrait of a community which is affected forever by a love which blossoms between two adolescents”.

Monica Arac de Nyeko was born in Uganda. She studied at Makerere and Groningen universities for a degree in Education and an MA in Humanitarian Assistance. She is a member of the Uganda Women Writers Association (FEMRITE), was a literature and English language teacher at St Mary College, Kisubi, an Early Warning Consultant in Rome and later a Reports Officer in Khartoum. She has been a Fellow on the British Council’s Crossing Borders programme and was also shortlisted for the Caine Prize in 2004 for Strange Fruit. Her short stories are to be published in Jazz, Miracles and Dreams and City Link.

Also on this year’s shortlist were:

• Uwem Akpan (Nigeria), ‘My Parents Bedroom’ The New Yorker June 12, 2006

• E.C Osondu (Nigeria) ‘Jimmy Carter’s Eyes’, AGNI Fiction Online 2006

• Henrietta Rose-Innes (South Africa) ‘Bad Places’, New Contrast vol 31 no4 Spring 2003

• Ada Udechukwu (Nigeria) ‘Night Bus’, The Atlantic Monthly, August 2006

Kenyan Billy Kahora’s ‘Treadmill Love’ from ‘The Obituary Tango’ Jacana/New Internationalist 2006, came in as highly commended by this year’s judges.

The Chair of Judges, Jamal Mahjoub, has seven published novels which have been translated into different languages. He was previously shortlisted for the Caine Prize in 2004 with The Obituary Tango, from Wasafiri. The other judges are Kenyan academic, critic and writer Dr Wangui wa Goro, award winning novelist Delia Jarrett-Macauley, South African poet and novelist Jonty Driver and former Zed Books Managing Editor, Robert Molteno.

As announced earlier this year, the winner of the £10,000 Caine Prize, known as the ‘African Booker’, will 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.

This is the eighth year of The Caine Prize. Last year’s Prize was awarded to South Africa’s Mary Watson for Jungfrau from Moss, Kwela Books, 2004. She is currently working on her first novel. Other previous winners include 2005 winner Segun Afolabi from Nigeria for Monday Morning published by Wasafiri (2004), later published in his first collection of short stories, A Life Elsewhere. His first novel Goodbye Lucille is due to be published this summer. Helon Habila, Caine Prize 2001 winner, described as a ‘major novelist in the making’, has just published his second novel, Measuring Time. Binyavanga Wainaina, who won the Caine Prize in 2002 is the founding editor of the literary magazine, Kwani? and is currently working on a memoir which is to be published by Granta Books.

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