The five writer shortlist for the 2015 Caine Prize for African Writing has been announced by Chair of judges, award-winning South African writer Zoë Wicomb. In a sign of the established calibre to be found in African writing and as the Caine Prize matures in its sixteenth year, the shortlist includes one past winner and two previously shortlisted writers.
Chair of judges, Zoë Wicomb described the shortlist as, "an exciting crop of well-crafted stories."
"For all the variety of themes and approaches, the shortlist has in common a rootedness in socio-economic worlds that are pervaded with affect, as well as keen awareness of the ways in which the ethical is bound up with aesthetics. Unforgettable characters, drawn with insight and humour, inhabit works ranging from classical story structures to a haunting, enigmatic narrative that challenges the conventions of the genre."
She added, "Understatement and the unspoken prevail: hints of an orphan’s identity bring poignant understanding of his world; the reader is slowly and expertly guided to awareness of a narrator’s blindness; there is delicate allusion to homosexual love; a disfigured human body is encountered in relation to adolescent escapades; a nameless wife’s insecurities barely mask her understanding of injustice; and, we are given a flash of insight into dark passions that rise out of a surreal resistance culture."
"Above all, these stories speak of the pleasure of reading fiction. It will be no easy task to settle on a winner."
Each shortlisted writer receives £500 and the winner of the £10,000 prize will be announced at an award ceremony and dinner at the Weston Library, Bodleian Libraries, Oxford, on Monday 6 July.
The 2015 shortlist comprises:
- Segun Afolabi (Nigeria) for “The Folded Leaf” in Wasafiri (Wasafiri, London, 2014)
Caine Prize winner 2005 for “Monday Morning”
Read "The Folded Leaf"
- Elnathan John (Nigeria) for “Flying” in Per Contra (Per Contra, International, 2014)
Shortlisted in 2013 for “Bayan Layi”
- F. T. Kola (South Africa) for “A Party for the Colonel” in One Story (One Story, inc. Brooklyn, New York City, 2014)
Read "A Party for the Colonel"
- Masande Ntshanga (South Africa) for “Space” in Twenty in 20 (Times Media, South Africa, 2014)
- Namwali Serpell (Zambia) for “The Sack” in Africa39 (Bloomsbury, London, 2014)
Shortlisted in 2010 for “Muzungu”
Read "The Sack"
Each of these stories will be published in New Internationalist’s Caine Prize 2015 Anthology in July and through co-publishers across Africa, who receive a print ready PDF free of charge from New Internationalist.
Read a short biography of the five shortlisted writers here.