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2015 Caine Prize for African Writing Shortlist Announced: Includes South Africans Masande Ntshanga and FT Kola

Alert! South Africans Masande Ntshanga and FT Kola have been included in the shortlist for the 2015 Caine Prize for African Writing, along with 2005 winner Segun Afolabi (Nigeria), 2013 shortlistee Elnathan John (Nigeria) and 2010 shortlistee Namwali Serpell (Zambia).

The ReactiveTwenty in 20A Life ElsewhereThe Gonjon Pin and Other StoriesFeast, Famine and PotluckAfrica39

In 2015 the Caine Prize for African Writing received a record number of entries from 17 African countries. Award-winning South African author Zoë Wicomb chaired the judging panel this year.

Ntshanga was the recipient of the 2013 PEN International/New Voices Award for his Caine Prize shotlisted story “Space”, as well as a fellowship to be a Civitella Ranieri Foundation Writer in Residence for the 2015 season in Italy. “Space” has been published in the Times Media anthology, Twenty in 20. His debut novel, The Reactive, was published by Umuzi last year and launched in coversation with Imraan Coovadia in November.

Kola is a debut author. Her story, entitled “A Party for the Colonel”, was published in One Story, an American literary magazine. She is currently part of the MFA program at the Michener Center for Writers at UT Austin, a full-time three-year residency programme. In an interview about her story, Kola said:

“I really wanted to show, in this story, how Apartheid was a structure that could simultaneously exploit and repress you and allow you to exploit others and participate in their repression.”

The winner, who will receive £10,000, will be announced on Monday, 6 July at a ceremony to be held in Oxford. All five shortlisted stories will be included in the new Cain Prize anthology which will be launched at the ceremony. Okwiri Oduor won the 2014 Caine Prize for her story “My Father’s Head”, included in last year’s anthology The Gonjon Pin as well as the Short Story Day Africa anthology, Feast, Famine and Potluck.

Congratulations to all these authors!


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Press release

The five writer shortlist for the 2015 Caine Prize for African Writing has been announced today (Tuesday 5 May) by Chair of judges, award-winning South African writer Zoë Wicomb.

In a sign of the established calibre to be found in African writing and as the Caine Prize matures in its sixteenth year, the shortlist includes one past winner and two previously shortlisted writers.

Chair of judges, Zoë Wicomb described the shortlist as, “an exciting crop of well-crafted stories.​”

“For all the variety of themes and approaches, the shortlist has in common a rootedness in socio-economic worlds that are pervaded with affect, as well as keen awareness of the ways in which the ethical is bound up with aesthetics. Unforgettable characters, drawn with insight and humour, inhabit works ranging from classical story structures to a haunting, enigmatic narrative that challenges the conventions of the genre.”

She added, “Understatement and the unspoken prevail: hints of an orphan’s identity bring poignant understanding of his world; the reader is slowly and expertly guided to awareness of a narrator’s blindness; there is delicate allusion to homosexual love; a disfigured human body is encountered in relation to adolescent escapades; a nameless wife’s insecurities barely mask her understanding of injustice; and, we are given a flash of insight into dark passions that rise out of a surreal resistance culture.”

“Above all, these stories speak of the pleasure of reading fiction. It will be no easy task to settle on a winner.”

The winner of the £10,000 prize will be announced at an award ceremony and dinner at the Weston Library, Bodleian Libraries, Oxford, on Monday 6 July. The 2015 shortlist comprises:

Caine Prize winner 2005 for “Monday Morning”

  • Elnathan John (Nigeria) for “Flying” in Per Contra (Per Contra, International, 2014)

Shortlisted in 2013 for “Bayan Layi”

  • FT Kola (South Africa) for “A Party for the Colonel” in One Story (One Story, inc. Brooklyn, New York City, 2014)
  • Masande Ntshanga (South Africa) for “Space” in Twenty in 20 (Times Media, South Africa, 2014)

Shortlisted in 2010 for “Muzungu”

Each of these stories will be published in New Internationalist’s Caine Prize 2015 Anthology in July and through co-publishers across Africa, who receive a print ready PDF free of charge from New Internationalist.


Book details

  • Twenty in 20: The Best Short Stories of South Africa’s 20 Years of Democracy by , , , , , edited by Mandla Langa
    EAN: 9781928216421
    Find this book with BOOK Finder!

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