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Caine Prize Fiction Friday: “Miracle” by Tope Folarin

Nigerian writer Tope Folarin’s short story “Miracle” has been shortlisted for the 2013 Caine Prize for African Writing. Folarin is up against fellow Nigerians Elnathan John, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim and Chinelo Okparanta, as well as Pede Hollist from Sierra Leone, for the £10 000 prize.

“Miracle” was first published in Transition, Issue 109, and the story also forms part of Folarin’s forthcoming novel, The Proximity of Distance.

While we await the announcement of the Caine Prize winner on 8 July, Books LIVE will be publishing each of the shortlisted stories. Recently we brought you “Bayan Layi” by Elnathan John. This week, read Folarin’s “Miracle”:

OUR HEADS MOVE simultaneously, and we smile at the tall, svelte man who strides purposefully down the aisle to the pulpit. Once there, he raises both of his hands then lowers them slightly. He raises his chin and says let us pray.

“Dear Father, we come to you today, on the occasion of this revival, and we ask that you bless us abundantly, we who have made it to America, because we know we are here for a reason. We ask for your blessings because we are not here alone. Each of us represents dozens, sometimes hundreds of people back home. So many lives depend on us Lord, and the burden on our shoulders is great. Jesus, bless this service, and bless us. We ask that we will not be the same people at the end of the service as we were at the beginning. All this we ask of you, our dear savior, Amen.”

The pastor sits, and someone bolts from the front row to the piano and begins to play. The music we hear is familiar and at the same time new; the bandleader punches up a pre-programmed beat on the cheap electronic piano and plays a few Nigerian gospel songs to get us in the mood for revival. We sing along, though we have to wait a few moments at the beginning of each song to figure out what he’s playing. We sing joyful songs to the Lord, then songs of redemption, and then we sing songs of hope, hope that tomorrow will be better than today, hope that, one day soon, our lives will begin to resemble the dreams that brought us to America.

African VioletTo See the Mountain and Other StoriesA Life in Full and Other Stories10 Years of the Caine Prize for African WritingWork in Progress and Other StoriesJambula Tree and Other StoriesJungfrau and Other Stories

Book details

  • A Life in Full and Other Stories: The Caine Prize for African Writing 2010 by The Caine Prize for African Writing
    EAN: 9781906523374
    Find this book with BOOK Finder!

Image courtesy Brittle Paper


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