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The Caine Prize Unveils 2012 Anthology: African Violet

African VioletAlert! The Caine Prize has released the title and cover of their 2012 anthology. African Violet: The Caine Prize for African Writing 2012, will be released on 1 July, shortly ahead of the announcement of the winner of the £10 000 prize in Oxford on 2 July.

African Violet features this year’s five shortlisted stories (recap on the shortlist here), as well as ten short stories produced at the annual Caine Prize Workshop earlier this year.

The collection will be published by New Internationalist in the UK and by Jacana Media in South Africa, as well as in five other African countries (Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Uganda and Zambia), a first for the Caine Prize.

Press release:

The 2012 Caine Prize Anthology, African Violet, is set for release on July 1, and will for the first time, be published in six African countries, up from last year’s three.

According to Caine Prize Administrator, Dr Lizzy Attree, the Caine Prize is spreading its publishing partnerships across Africa in order to make the stories available continent-wide, as well as to promote the recognition of the Caine Prize as Africa’s leading literary award. This year’s anthology consists of five shortlisted stories from the Caine Prize entries, and ten short stories produced at the Caine Prize Workshop held in South Africa in March 2012. The workshop participants to be featured in the anthology are: Mehul Gohil, Grace Khunou, Lauri Kubuitsile, Beatrice Lamwaka, Brenda Mukami, Tendai Rinos Mwanaka, Waigwa Ndiangui, Yewande Omotoso, Rehana Roussouw, and Rachel Zadok.

The new co-publishers – Sub-Saharan Publishers (Ghana), FEMRITE (Uganda), and Bookworld Publishers (Zambia) – will be joining previous publishers of the anthology, New Internationalist (UK), Jacana (South Africa; co-publishers since 2001), Cassava Republic (Nigeria; co-publishers since 2010), and Kwani? (Kenya; co-publishers since 2011). All six African publishers will produce, promote and distribute this year’s anthology, which will also be published in e-book form by New Internationalist.

Dan Raymond Barker, Books Marketing Manager at New Internationalist said “It’s important for this ground-breaking literary prize to have as wide a readership as possible across Africa and the wider world. New Internationalist is delighted to be among such a diverse and growing list of international publishers. And with the addition of the e-book format this year we aim to bring greater enjoyment and recognition of the Caine Prize.”

The Chair of judges, author and Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, Bernardine Evaristo MBE, described the shortlisted stories in the anthology as “truly diverse fiction from a truly diverse continent”, and it is in keeping with the ambition of Caine to reflect the diversity of Africa that it is making all efforts towards expanding its scope by publishing in as many African countries as possible. It hopes in subsequent years to partner with more co-publishers in other African countries.

The thirteenth anthology will be released in time for this year’s Caine Prize award ceremony to be held on July 2 in Oxford.

Selected from 122 entries from 14 African countries, the five shortlisted stories are:

  • Rotimi Babatunde (Nigeria) “Bombay’s Republic” from Mirabilia Review Vol. 3.9 (Lagos, 2011)
  • Billy Kahora (Kenya) “Urban Zoning” from McSweeney’s Vol. 37 (San Francisco, 2011)
  • Stanley Kenani (Malawi) “Love on Trial” from For Honour and Other Stories published by eKhaya/Random House Struik (Cape Town, 2011)
  • Melissa Tandiwe Myambo (Zimbabwe) “La Salle de Départ” from Prick of the Spindle Vol. 4.2 (New Orleans, June, 2010)
  • Constance Myburgh (South Africa) “Hunter Emmanuel” from Jungle Jim Issue 6, (Cape Town, 2011)

Alongside Bernardine on the panel of judges this year are cultural journalist Maya Jaggi, Zimbabwean poet, songwriter and writer Chirikure Chirikure, Associate Professor at Georgetown University, Washington DC Samantha Pinto, and the Sudanese CNN television correspondent Nima Elbagir. 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, as a Writer-inResidence at the Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice. The award will cover all travel and living expenses. The winner will also be invited to take part in the Open Book Festival in Cape Town in September 2012 and events at the Museum of African Art in New York in November 2012.

Last year the Caine Prize was won by Zimbabwean writer NoViolet Bulawayo. She has subsequently been awarded the highly regarded two-year Stegner Writing Fellowship at Stanford University, in the United States and her debut novel, We Need New Names, is forthcoming from Little, Brown in North America and Chatto and Windus in the UK. Previous winners are Sudan’s Leila Aboulela (2000), Nigerian Helon Habila (2001), Kenyan Binyavanga Wainaina (2002), Kenyan Yvonne Owuor (2003), Zimbabwean Brian Chikwava (2004), Nigerian Segun Afolabi (2005), South African Mary Watson (2006), Ugandan Monica Arac de Nyeko (2007), South African Henrietta Rose-Innes (2008), Nigerian EC Osondu (2009) and Sierra Leonean Olufemi Terry (2010).

Dates for the Diary

This year the shortlisted writers will be reading from their work at the Royal Over-Seas League on Thursday, 28 June at 7pm, and at the Southbank Centre, on Sunday, 1 July at 4.30pm. On Saturday, 30 June at 3pm the shortlisted writers will take part in the Africa Writes Festival at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, organised by the Royal African Society. A seminar on African Writing will also be held on Wednesday, 4 July at 1pm at the Anatomy Museum, King’s College London.


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