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Final Caine Prize Fiction Friday: “My Father’s Head” by Okwiri Oduor

Okwiri Oduor


This Friday we bring you the fifth and final story that was shortlisted for the 2014 Caine Prize: Okwiri Oduor’s “My Father’s Head”.

Short Story Day Africa: Feast, Famine African VioletA Memory This Size and Other Stories10 Years of the Caine Prize for African Writing

“My Father’s Head” won the 2013 Short Story Day Africa short story competition, and was first published in Feast, Famine and Potluck. It was one of two Short Story Day Africa stories shortlisted for The 2014 Caine Prize, the other being “Chicken”, by Efemia Chela.

Read our previous Caine Prize Fiction Fridays:

Read “My Father’s Head”:

I had meant to summon my father only long enough to see what his head looked like, but now he was here and I did not know how to send him back.

It all started the Thursday that Father Ignatius came from Immaculate Conception in Kitgum. The old women wore their Sunday frocks, and the old men plucked garlands of bougainvillea from the fence and stuck them in their breast pockets. One old man would not leave the dormitory because he could not find his shikwarusi, and when I coaxed and badgered, he patted his hair and said, “My God, do you want the priest from Uganda to think that I look like this every day?”

I arranged chairs beneath the avocado tree in the front yard, and the old people sat down and practiced their smiles. A few people who did not live at the home came too, like the woman who hawked candy in the Stagecoach bus to Mathari North, and the man whose one-roomed house was a kindergarten in the daytime and a brothel in the evening, and the woman whose illicit brew had blinded five people in January.

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Image courtesy of Brittlepaper


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