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2009 Caine Prize Shortlist

Willemien Brümmer and Alistair Morgan

Alert! The 2009 Caine Prize for African Writing shortlist has been announced, and SA’s Alistair Morgan features in the mix for the short story that has had everyone breathless, “Icebergs” (see link below to read it). Without further ado, the shortlistees are:

  • Mamle Kabu (Ghana) “The End of Skill” from Dreams, Miracles and Jazz, published by Picador Africa, Johannesburg 2008
  • Parselelo Kantai (Kenya) “You Wreck Her” from the St Petersburg Review, NY 2008
  • Alistair Morgan (South Africa) “Iceberg” from The Paris Review no. 183, NY 2008
  • EC Osondu (Nigeria) “Waiting” from Guernicamag.com, October 2008
  • Mukoma wa Ngugi (Kenya) “How Kamau wa Mwangi Escaped into Exile” from Wasafiri No54, Summer 2008, London

The £10 000 prize – currently held by Henrietta Rose-Innes – will be announced on Sunday 6 July, at the Bodleian library in Oxford, UL. Will SA see a repeat performance?

The shortlist presents an interesting contrast to the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize – Africa Region list that was won by Mandla Langa earlier this year: that list featured only one non-South African writer, whereas this year’s Caine Prize list manages to source from four African countries.

***

Official press release

The shortlist for the 2009 Caine Prize for African Writing has been announced (Wednesday 13 May 2009). The Caine Prize, widely known as the ‘African Booker’ and regarded as Africa’s leading literary award, celebrates its tenth anniversary this year.

Selected from 122 entries from 12 African countries, the shortlist is once again a reflection of the Caine Prize’s pan-African reach. The winner of the £10,000 prize is to be announced at a celebratory dinner at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, on Monday 6 July.

The 2009 shortlist comprises:

· Mamle Kabu (Ghana) ‘The End of Skill’ from ‘Dreams, Miracles and Jazz’, published by Picador Africa, Johannesburg 2008

· Parselelo Kantai (Kenya) ‘You Wreck Her’ from the St Petersburg Review, NY 2008

· Alistair Morgan (South Africa) ‘Icebergs’ from The Paris Review no. 183, NY 2008

· EC Osondu (Nigeria) ‘Waiting from Guernicamag.com, October 2008

· Mukoma wa Ngugi (Kenya) ‘How Kamau wa Mwangi Escaped into Exile’ from ‘Wasafiri’ No54, Summer 2008, London

Two other entries were highly commended: ‘Devils at the Door’ by Sierra Leone’s Brian James, and Ghanaian writer Nii Parkes’s ‘Socks Ball’.

This year the judging panel is chaired by New Statesman Chief Sub-Editor Nana Yaa Mensah, and joining her are Professor Jon Cook of the University of East Anglia, award-winning novelist and Georgetown University professor Jennifer Fink, Guardian journalist and author Hannah Pool, and Mohammed Umar, the Nigerian novelist, journalist and bookseller.

Once again the winner of the £10,000 Caine Prize will be given the opportunity of taking 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 the Caine Prize was won by South African writer Henrietta Rose-Innes for her short story Poison, from ‘Africa Pens’, published by Spearhead, an imprint of New Africa Books, Cape Town, 2007. Chair of judges Jude Kelly said at the time that the story showed “a sharp talent, a rare maturity and a poetic intelligence that is both subtle and deeply effective. It is writing of the highest order.”

Previous winners include Uganda’s Monica Arac de Nyeko, for Jambula Tree from ‘African Love Stories’, Ayebia Clarke Publishing, 2006, and Brian Chikwava, from Zimbabwe, whose first novel Harare North has just been published by Jonathan Cape.

This year the shortlisted writers will be reading from their work at the Royal Over-Seas League on Friday, 3 July at 7pm and at the London Literature Festival at the Southbank Centre, on Sunday, 5 July at 7pm. There will also be a seminar at the Institute for English Studies, Senate House, University of London, on Wednesday, 8 July at 1.30pm.

 

Recent comments:

  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    May 14th, 2009 @00:38 #
     
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    Congratulations all and celebrations! Alistair, it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

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  • <a href="http://kathrynwhite.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Kathryn</a>
    Kathryn
    May 14th, 2009 @00:48 #
     
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    Crikey! R130 000. Good Luck to everyone!

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    May 14th, 2009 @18:24 #
     
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    Alistair Morgan looks like Chuck Palahniuk - any insight into whether he is as troubled?

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    May 14th, 2009 @19:58 #
     
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    Well, on the basis of a very fleeting acquaintance with uber-gentleman AM, I would say the resemblance is no more than micron-deep.

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  • <a href="http://karinamagdalenaszczurek.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Karina</a>
    Karina
    May 14th, 2009 @20:28 #
     
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    Congratulations, Alistair! I don't know any of the other stories, but it is going to be tough to beat yours. Holding all my fingers and toes crossed :)

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  • <a href="http://kathrynwhite.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Kathryn</a>
    Kathryn
    May 14th, 2009 @21:06 #
     
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    Eeuw. Paluhnik makes my stomach turn. i used to be a fan, until Haunted and i said - nope that is enough.

    And here is an awful stick from angry Laura.

    - http://dir.salon.com/books/review/2003/08/20/palahniuk/index.html

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    May 14th, 2009 @21:20 #
     
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    Chuck me, that's harsh!

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  • <a href="http://kathrynwhite.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Kathryn</a>
    Kathryn
    May 14th, 2009 @21:33 #
     
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    insane hey - she wants to beat him to death with that stick. i read it in 2003, halfway thru my very first MS and was duly frightened. he was very very upset and wrote a piece after that - not the reply on Salon - where he got quite nasty himself.

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    May 14th, 2009 @22:25 #
     
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    I quite enjoyed Diary - more than his latest books. But then again - now it's my turn to boast (viz off-to-the-winelands Helen) - I read it by a tropical poolside in Cartagena, Colombia, so that could have coloured it sunset-peachy.

    Just had to pop my head in from my jeans-free busywork to let you all know that.

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    May 14th, 2009 @22:58 #
     
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    I'm glad you did, Louis, because I now feel comfortable to admit that I never wear pants when working. However, I am not yet ready to admit that, although I have seen Fight Club, I have never actually read Palahnuik's work.

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  • <a href="http://henriettaroseinnes.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Henrietta</a>
    Henrietta
    May 14th, 2009 @23:02 #
     
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    Wonderful, Alistair! Enjoy London!

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    May 14th, 2009 @23:34 #
     
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    I think informality in the workplace is going a mite too far.

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  • <a href="http://rustumkozain.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Rustum Kozain</a>
    Rustum Kozain
    May 15th, 2009 @00:07 #
     
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    Never read him; and I'm in a kikhoi...

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    May 15th, 2009 @00:12 #
     
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    Breek uit jou kikhoi, voëltjie, and start posting!

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  • <a href="http://sarahlotz.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sarah Lotz</a>
    Sarah Lotz
    May 15th, 2009 @00:41 #
     
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    @Kathryn - thanks for the review link, haven't seen it before. Ouch. I'm quite a Palahniuk fan (I have a dark, dark heart) so also think it was a tad harsh.

    And congrats Alistair. Much deserved.

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  • <a href="http://rustumkozain.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Rustum Kozain</a>
    Rustum Kozain
    May 15th, 2009 @00:57 #
     
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    Hey, ja peeps, hello all ensovoorts. Sorry I'm a bit scarce; just got some many things to do, but... I'll be back.

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  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    May 15th, 2009 @01:20 #
     
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    That's an excellent stick, well pickled in brine and lemon juice. I'm afraid I agree with every word.

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