Prudential plc, one of the world's leading financial services groups, and Groupe Nduom, a family business group of Ghanaian and American origin operating in the financial, hospitality, media and other industries, are the primary supporters of this year's Caine Prize for African Writing workshop taking place in Ghana this month. The Caine Prize, known as Africa's leading literary award, has held twelve workshops in Africa since 2003.
Twelve writers from eight African countries will convene at the Coconut Grove Hotel in Elmina for thirteen days (6 April - 18 April) to write, read and discuss work in progress and to learn from two experienced writers, Leila Aboulela, who is a Sudanese author and winner of the inaugural Caine Prize in 1999, and Zukiswa Wanner, a South African novelist and journalist. Both will act as tutors and animateurs.
This year's participants include Diane Awerbuck (South Africa) and Efemia Chela (Zambia/Ghana) who were shortlisted for the 2014 prize, Onipede Hollist (Sierra Leona) who was shortlisted in 2013, and nine other promising writers, Dalle Abraham (Kenya), Nkiacha Atemnkeng (Cameroon), Akwaeke Emezi (Nigeria), Timothy Kiprop Kimutai (Kenya), Jonathan Mbuna (Malawi), and Jonathan Dotse, Jemila Abdulai, Aisha Nelson and Nana Nyarko Boateng (Ghana).
During the workshop, the writers will be expected to write a short story for the 2015 Caine Prize anthology, which will be published by New Internationalist on 1 July 2015, and subsequently by nine co-publishers in Africa who will receive a print-ready PDF free of charge. Stories conceived at annual workshops are automatically entered for the following year's Caine Prize.
Matt Lilley, CEO of Prudential Africa, said: "I am delighted that Prudential Africa is working with the Caine Prize to promote the richness and diversity of African writing in English. Prudential Africa is committed to investing in education and we look forward to working with the Caine Prize to nurture and inspire the next generation of writers."
Additional support for the workshop is provided by Commonwealth Writers, the Beit Trust, the Morel Trust, Sub-Saharan Publishers, Writers Project Ghana, and the Goethe Institut, the cultural institute of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Ellah Wakatama Allfrey OBE, Deputy Chairperson of the Caine Prize, said: "As investment in Africa's growing economies expands it is excellent to see the support businesses can provide to the arts, especially literature, and writing and reading, as part of their corporate social responsibility goals."
Director of the Caine Prize, Dr Lizzy Attree said: "The success of the co-publishing arrangement with Sub-Saharan Publishers in Ghana, which has sold over 25,000 copies of Caine Prize anthologies in the last 18 months, suggests there is a great appetite for literature in Ghana, and yet there have been no Ghanaian Caine Prize winners to date. We hope that holding the first workshop in Ghana since 2009 will encourage entries from Ghanaian writers and strengthen local literary networks."
The programme will include two public events. The first will be at the Coconut Grove Hotel in Elmina at 6pm on Friday, 17 April and the second will be at the Goethe Institut in Accra at 6pm on Saturday, 18 April.
The workshops will also incorporate visits to local senior and junior schools in the Elmina/Cape Coast area, offering students an opportunity to meet the writers and exchange ideas about writing and literature.