Caine Prize 2007 shortlist announced

Caine Prize 2007 shortlist announced

Nigeria features prominently in the eighth Caine Prize for African Writing, producing three of the five shortlisted writers for this year’s competition. But with entries received from North, South, East and West Africa, the Caine Prize has once again proven its pan-African outreach. The winner of the £10,000 prize is to be announced at a celebratory dinner at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, on Monday, 9 July.

The 2007 shortlist comprises:

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

• Monica Arac de Nyeko (Uganda), ‘Jambula Tree’ from ‘African Love Stories’ Ayebia Clarke Publishing 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

In addition the judges highly commended Kenyan Billy Kahora’s ‘Treadmill Love’ from ‘The Obituary Tango’ Jacana/New Internationalist 2006.

“The range of this year’s shortlist confirms that writers are testing the limits of what subjects they can address. From modern folk tales to social alienation, violent crime and sexual orientation. It is a welcome development”, commented Jamal Majhoub, the Chair for the 2007 judging panel. Jamal, who was born in London and bought up in Khartoum, has published seven novels, which have been translated into many languages. His numerous awards include the Mario Vargos Llosa Premio NH de Relatos in 2006 and he has previously been shortlisted for the Caine Prize in 2004 with The Obituary Tango, from Wasafiri.

The judging panel this year also includes Kenyan academic, critic and writer Dr Wangui wa Goro, award winning novelist Delia Jarett-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.

Last year’s winner was South African Mary Watson, for Jungfrau, from ‘Moss’, Kwela Books, 2004. Dr Nana Wilson-Tagoe commented that Jungfrau was “a powerfully written narrative that works skilfully through a child’s imagination to suggest a world of insights about familial and social relationships in the new South Africa”. Mary is now working on her first novel in Cape Town.

Other previous winners include 2005’s winner S.A.Afolabi from Nigeria for Monday Morning from 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.

This year the short listed writers will be reading from their work at the Royal Over-Seas League on Friday, 6 July at 7pm and at the South Bank Centre literary festival on Sunday, 8 July at 8:15 pm. There will also be a seminar at the Institute for English Studies, Senate House, University of London, on Wednesday, 11 July at 1.30pm.

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Notes for Editors:

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” will normally be taken to mean someone who was born in Africa, or who is a national of an African country, or whose parents are African, and whose work has reflected that cultural background.

The African winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Wole Soyinka, Nadine Gordimer and J M Coetzee, are Patrons of The Caine Prize. Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne is President of the Council and Jonathan Taylor is the Chairman.

For further information, photos or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Abigail Cochrane
Raitt Orr & Associates Ltd
Tel: 020 7630 9778
Fax: 020 7630 5067
E-mail: abigail@raittorr.com

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Name: Abigail Cochrane
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