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Pemi Aguda Wins 2015 Writivism Short Story Prize for “Caterer, Caterer” (Plus: Read the Story)

 
Alert! Nigerian author Pemi Aguda has been announced as the winner of the 2015 Writivism Short Story Prize at a ceremony in Kampala, Uganda.

Aguda won the award for her short story “Caterer, Caterer”, while Adeola Opeyemi’s “Being a Man” received an honourable mention.

The other writers on the 2015 Writivism shortlist were Dayo Adewunmi Ntwari (Rwanda, for “Devil’s Village”), Nnedinma Jane Kalu (Nigeria, for “Social Studies”) and local author Saaleha Bhamjee (South Africa, for “Dream”) (not to be confused with Saaleha Idrees Bamjee that won the 2014 short story prize).

The shortlist was selected from 277 entries and a longlist of 14 stories.

The panel of judges this year was chaired by Chika Unigwe and comprised Mukoma wa Ngugi, Tendai Huchu, Ainehi Edoro and Rachel Zadok.

Aguda has been published in The Kalahari Review, Black Fox Literary Magazine, Prufrock Magazine, The Wrong Quarterly and The Naked Convos anthology These Words Expose Us.

Read an excerpt from her winning story:

“CATERER, CATERER”

They are building a church. They say it is going to be bigger than both the whole of Sabo and Ladoja joined together. They say it will rise so high that we will not be able to see the hills of Agbara that touch the sky in the distance; that it will be so tall that it can only force our eyes to go up. To God.

I don’t know anything about buildings. All I know is the smack- ing of fists against our wooden door if we do not pay the landlord rent on time. I also know food. I know ponmo that squishes between your teeth, so tender that you close your eyes. I know smoky jollof rice with grains that do not hold on to each other in solidarity. I know efo riro that will dribble out the side of your mouth so that your wife knows that you tasted another woman’s kitchen and found it superior to hers.

It is why I am in this Keke Maruwa that is hurtling down the street, entering every pothole on the road as if its tyres are suicidal. We have seen no other person since we turned into this narrow, winding road and the engine of the Keke Maruwa echoes in the emptiness.

I have been called to cook for the people celebrating the laying of the foundation for this church that will be taller and bigger than all the buildings I have ever seen. My husband does not like the church people – Pastor Pascal and his flock. But the money I get will pay the rent. Twice.

Biyi says to me, “Why is a man who can talk to God wearing a green suit? Why hasn’t God told him that he looks like the spirogyra that dances in our gutters?”

And I say to Biyi, “Na you know.”

Zadok and others tweeted from the event:

Related news:

2015 Writivism Short Story Prize Shortlist Announced, Including Local Author Saaleha Bhamjee

Fiction Friday: “Sunkissed” by 2015 Writivism Short Story Prize Longlisted Author Saaleha Bhamjee

Writivism Announces 2015 Programme, Including Workshops, Short Story Competition and New Anthology

Selected Writers Announced for the 2015 Writivism Creative Writing Workshops

 

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