Modelled loosely upon the UK’s prestigious Man Booker Prize, which covers Anglophone novels from the Commonwealth, the influential Caine Prize similarly rewards the best shorter Anglophone fiction from, specifically, the African continent. Initiated by Sir Michael Caine, a former chairman of the Booker Prize, the prize was first awarded in 2000, when it was won by the fine Sudanese writer, Leila Aboulela. Since 2000, it has been awarded to talented younger writers from across sub-Saharan Africa, from Nigeria to Kenya — Binyavanga Wainaina and Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor — to South Africa. Uganda had a winner, Monica Arac de Nyeko, in 2007, and yet it’s worth pointing out that the Anglophone focus possibly marginalises Tanzania — although translations are acceptable — even though contemporary Swahili literature arguably comprises some of the most adventurous literary experimentation on the continent. As of yet, no one from the Maghreb or Egypt has won, although it’s fair to say that some of the strongest short-listed stories have, over the years, been from the North as much as from the East, South and West of our continent.
Writer: Stephen Derwent Partington
Length: 2291 words
Source: The East African
Published: May 25th, 2012