Archive for the ‘Short Stories’ Category
Alert! The shortlist for the Thirteenth Caine Prize for African Writing has just been announced.
This year’s list is devoid of South African entries but includes an unprecedented four Nigerian writers and one from Sierra Leone. It would seem that Rotimi Babatunde, last year’s Nigerian winner, has spurred on his compatriots.
The winner of this year’s £10,000 prize will be announced on 8 July at Bodleian Library, Oxford.
BOOK LIVE sends its congratulations to the shortlistees, as follows:
- Elnathan John (Nigeria) “Bayan Layi” from Per Contra, Issue 25 (USA, 2012)
- Tope Folarin (Nigeria) “Miracle” from Transition, Issue 109 (Bloomington, 2012)
- Pede Hollist (Sierra Leone) “Foreign Aid” from Journal of Progressive Human Services, Vol. 23.3 (Philadelphia, 2012)
- Abubakar Adam Ibrahim (Nigeria) “The Whispering Trees” from The Whispering Trees, published by Parrésia Publishers (Lagos, 2012)
- Chinelo Okparanta (Nigeria) “America” from Granta, Issue 118 (London, 2012)
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The shortlist for the 2013 Caine Prize for African Writing has been announced today (Wednesday 15 May) – and among the five stories chosen are an unprecedented four Nigerian entries.
The Chair of judges, art historian and broadcaster, Gus Casely-Hayford said, “The shortlist was selected from 96 entries from 16 African countries. They are all outstanding African stories that were drawn from an extraordinary body of high quality submissions.”
Gus described the shortlist saying, “The five contrasting titles interrogate aspects of things that we might feel we know of Africa – violence, religion, corruption, family, community – but these are subjects that are deconstructed and beautifully remade. These are challenging, arresting, provocative stories of a continent and its descendants captured at a time of burgeoning change.”
The winner of the £10,000 prize is to be announced at a celebratory dinner at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, on Monday 8 July.
The 2013 shortlist comprises:
- Elnathan John (Nigeria) ‘Bayan Layi’ from Per Contra, Issue 25 (USA, 2012) www.percontra.net
- Tope Folarin (Nigeria) ‘Miracle’ from Transition, Issue 109 (Bloomington, 2012) http://dubois.fas.harvard.edu/transition-magazine
- Pede Hollist (Sierra Leone) ‘Foreign Aid’ from Journal of Progressive Human Services, Vol. 23.3 (Philadelphia, 2012) http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/wphs20#.UZOV4bVlk_g
- Abubakar Adam Ibrahim (Nigeria) ‘The Whispering Trees’ from The Whispering Trees, published by Parrésia Publishers (Lagos, 2012) http://www.parresiapublishers.com/
- Chinelo Okparanta (Nigeria) ‘America’ from Granta, Issue 118 (London, 2012) www.granta.com
As always the stories will be available to read online on our website www.caineprize.com and will be published with the 2013 workshop stories in our forthcoming anthology A Memory This Size in July 2013 by New Internationalist and seven co-publishers in Africa.
Alongside Gus on the panel of judges this year are award-winning Nigerian-born artist, Sokari Douglas Camp; author, columnist and Lord Northcliffe Emeritus Professor at UCL, John Sutherland; Assistant Professor at Georgetown University, Nathan Hensley and the winner of the Caine Prize in its inaugural year, Leila Aboulela. 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-in-Residence 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 2013.
Last year the Caine Prize was won by Nigerian writer Rotimi Babatunde. He has subsequently co-authored a play Feast for the Young Vic and the Royal Court theatres in London.
Dates for the Diary
This year the shortlisted writers will be reading from their work at the Royal Over-Seas League on Thursday, 4 July at 7pm and at the Southbank Centre, on Sunday, 7 July at 6.30pm. On Friday, 5 July at 2-5pm and Saturday, 6 July at 5pm the shortlisted writers will also take part in the Africa Writes Festival at The British Library, organised by ASAUK and the Royal African Society.
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H. P. van Coller (25) skryf dat die Afrikaanse literatuur in die 1990’s gereeld “’n obsessionele belangstelling in en bemoeienis met die geskiedenis” het, wat voltrek word tussen die pole van “nostalgie en parodie”. Nostalgie is ’n “hunkering na iets wat onherroeplik verby is”, terwyl hy parodie omskryf as “die belaglikmakende nabootsing, omwerking, travestie van ’n oorspronklike gegewe” (25–26).
Boek se tuisblad
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Granta magazine has featured a short story by A Igoni Barrett from his new short story collection, Love is Power of Something Like That, which has been longlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award 2013. In “The Worst Thing That Happened”, we are introduced to Ma Bille who wakes up with “the suspicion that she was all alone in a world that had seen the best years of her life”:
For the fourth time in almost as many years, Ma Bille had to go in for eye surgery, this time to have her cataracts removed. She was not afraid: at sixty-eight years of age she had been in and out of the operating room so many times that the antiseptic reek of hospital walls was as familiar to her as the smell of baby poop. The thing that worried her, that made her wake up this morning with her heart hammering in her ears, was the suspicion that she was all alone in a world that had seen the best years of her life.
While she waited for sensation to return to her legs, she ran her mind over the tasks for the day. Her domestic routine, established after her husband’s death and perfected in the years since the last of her five children had left the house, was the cogwheel of her existence, the real reason to live. After the last operation she had shuffled around the house for five days with a blindfold of surgical gauze over her eyes, condemned to do nothing but eat, bathe, sit on the toilet bowl, and listen to the sounds of the street outside her window. She had emerged from that invalid’s limbo with a renewed zest for workaday duties, but since she noticed the fog creeping in again from the edges of her vision, she had begun to wonder if she was fighting fate.
Image courtesy Writestuff
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This is Bakkes’ first English book which has been translated from Afrikaans. It is a compilation of his life experiences taken from various titles such as Stoffel in Afrika and Stoffel op Safari. The book is a humorous and interesting account of his life growing up in Pretoria and finding his way into the life of a game ranger in Namibia and South Africa.
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MaThoko’s Books has just released Queer Africa: New and Collected Fiction, which includes extracts from Richard de Nooy’ novel The Big Stick, and the late K Sello Duiker’s Thirteen Cents, as well as new short stories by, among others, Wamuwi Mbao and TO Molefe.
Today, courtesy MaThoko’s Books, we bring you an extract from Molefe’s short story “Lower Main”, set in Observatory Cape Town. In the following piece, Dee and her friend Madz are at Obz Café, dissecting the reasons for Madz’s break-up with her girlfriend TeeKay:
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My friend Madz and me are at Obz Café, a nothing little eatery on Lower Main Road. It’s not my kind of kind of vibe, but Madz likes it. Back when we used to speak more frequently, before she ran off to the southern suburbs with her girlfriend TeeKay, she told me she liked it because it’s usually occupied by foreign students roughing it at the backpackers lodge upstairs or artsy types from the indie theatre next door. She also liked how, like everything else on the street, it was laid back and unadorned.
We’re sitting outside because Madz has recently started smoking. She’s looking thin. Her sullen cheeks, spiky moulded afro and those eyes, rimmed by dark eyeliner, all make her look like a newly hatched raven. Her skin glistens like feathers slicked down by albumen. Still, she’s as gorgeous as ever; her sculpted eyebrows, those dewdrop lips. I have to tear my eyes away.
Observatory’s busier than it’s been in a while. Spring’s finally arrived, with the bustle of a date you thought had stood you up, and Lower Main’s inhabitants have slunk out of their pits of self-effacement to turn the street, for a brief moment, into a kaleidoscope of freakishness. Two tourists, a man and a woman, appear to be out of place. They gawk at each person they see. How do I know they’re tourists? I don’t. But just look at them. He’s wearing inappropriately short shorts, a floral print shirt and a camera around his neck.
She’s wearing tan capris and a tight, sleeveless knitted sweater. The man stops to take pictures of bergies passed out with their mouths open outside the liquor store. If this were my first time on Lower Main, I’d be shocked to see someone taking pictures of homeless drunks. But it’s not. So I’m not. As he snaps away, the woman tugs at his arm. It’s not cautioning. It looks like she’s urging him on.
I turn back to Madz to see her lick back the last of her beer, her salamander tongue flashing around the lip of the bottle.
“Uh, Madz? That’s your second in ten minutes,” I say.
“You’re drinking like you’re on fire. You okay?”
“I’m fine, and don’t mother me. You know I don’t like that.”
“I know,” I say. “You just never used to smoke or drink …”
Madz looks away from me and into the café.
I first met Madz when I responded to her ad for a buxom black woman to pose nude for sketches. It read just like that. wanted: buxom black women for nude sketches. natural hair only. Full-figured women apparently make interesting subjects, and I’d made a sort of career doing that kind of thing. There was really nothing to it. Just step into a studio or a room in a bourgie house, and disrobe. It was usually for an art class for well-to-do, liberal house-wives, bored with découpage and painting fruit. They weren’t afraid to speak like I was a bowl of fruit. “How’d her butt get SO big?” one once asked. At a different class, another said, “I long for the courage to stop obsessing about my weight like she has.” None of this ever bothered me and the money was good. Sometimes, I got lucky. I’d end up posing for a real artist.
I didn’t pose for Madz. We got talking, and I just never got round to disrobing. We spoke like old friends, our conversation breaking into multiple strands, converging and breaking again. We spoke about her work. She was doing a series of portraits back then, all charcoal and pencil – nudes of disembodied bodies. Their pencil outline seemed unable to contain their charcoal filling. All their faces were detailed but smudged grotesquely. She said she was trying to capture truth, but it seemed to me too obscure a concept to understand. Not truth, but her trying to capture it. When it was all done, there was something about the portraits. Maybe the white spaces around the smudged black and white forms, or the forms themselves, but something seemed to be missing in an aching kind of a way. The portraits got her exhibition space at a few galleries. That’s how she met TeeKay, an art programme dropout who’d used her trust fund to fashion herself as a gallery curator.
“Madz,” I say. I reach for her hands across the table. “You know this comes from a place of love, right? You look in a bad way, friend.”
She pulls her hands away and carries on staring into the café. I pick up my beer and suck it down. I wave to the waiter for two more.
When Madz finally speaks, she confirms a rumour I’ve been hearing. TeeKay has broken up with her.
“Sorry,” I say, “but I told you two people so different can’t get on forever.”
“Fuck, Dee,” she says, turning to look me dead in the eye, “that’s the nicest thing anyone’s said to me in a while.”
“I just mean you two never had that much in common.”
“You’ve said this many, many times before.”
A knowing silence descends. She’s waiting for me to explain myself. I’m waiting for her to let me off the hook.
“I just never liked TeeKay for you,” I say, blinking first.
“You’ve never liked anyone for me,” she says.
- Queer Africa is published by MaThoko’s Books
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Sometimes your mind craves a holiday from serious reading if you are normally devouring heavy business material or even just dark and complex detective mysteries. When your head needs the mental equivalent of a carefree stroll around the golf course, that’s the perfect time to pick up this funny and engaging little volume.
Ystervarkrivier — A Slice of Life is a collection of whimsical tales set in a rural village where the golf course gives many of the characters a central meeting point. It tells of the quiet lives lived by this collection of bizarre characters invented by Andy Capostagno, a gifted story-teller and probably the sort of man who would fit right in with these delightful companions.
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The latest issue of the literary journal Asymptote features an “Africa English Fiction Feature”, which includes a short story by Chika Unigwe, winner of the 2012 Nigeria Prize for Literature.
For this week’s Fiction Friday, we bring you “Love of a Fat Woman”, in which the protagonist Godwin returns to Nigeria with an overweight white woman, who he insists is “not a proper wife”:
When Godwin came home with his wife, his sisters hid their faces behind their hands and laughed. They said hello to their new sister-in-law and told her they were happy to meet her but he could see the laughter bubbling underneath like a boil about to burst. Godwin had told them on the phone that she was not beautiful, but he had said nothing about her corpulence or that she smoked like a man and had teeth that looked like fingernails.
Could you not find anyone better? his mother asked him later that night while the new wife slept in the bedroom Adaku and Oyilinneya had vacated on their mother’s orders. Her snoring was deep and rhythmic, as if it were keeping count to some unheard music.
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THIS is a collection of short stories, testimonies and poems, put together by POWA (People Opposing Women Abuse).
Breaking The Silence is now in its seventh year of publication. Its aim is to open the never-ending debate around abuse and other women’s issues through the medium of this book.
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Alert! It has just been announced that Books LIVE members Jamala Safari and SA Partridge have made it onto the shortlists for the 2013 Commonwealth Book Prize and the Commonwealth Short Story Prize, respectively.
Safari’s novel The Great Agony and Pure Laughter of the Gods (Umuzi) is joined on the Book Prize shortlist by twenty other writers, including Nigerians EE Sule’s Sterile Sky and Ifeanyi Ajaegbo’s Sarah House, both of which were on the 2012 Nigeria Prize for Literature shortlist, and their compatriot Chibundu Onuzo’s The Spider King’s Daughter, which was shortlisted for the 2012 Dylan Thomas Prize. The Commonwealth Book Prize is awarded to the best first novel. The winner of the Book Prize will receive £10 000 with regional winners (Africa, Asia, Canada and Europe, Caribbean, and the Pacific) receiving £2 500.
On the Commonwealth Short Story Prize shortlist of 19 stories, Partridge’s “Take Me Home United Road” is joined by fellow South Africa Julian Jackson’s “The New Customers”, Nigerian writer Tobenna Nwosu’s “No War is Worth Debating” and Kenyan Alexander Ikawah’s “Fatima Saleh”. The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is awarded to the best piece of unpublished short fiction. £5 000 will be presented to the winner of the Short Story Prize and regional winners will get £1 000.
The overall winners will be announced at the Hay Festival, on 31 May 2013.
Congratulations and good luck!
The Commonwealth Foundation has announced shortlists for the 2013 Commonwealth Book Prize and Commonwealth Short Story Prize. Part of Commonwealth Writers, the prizes unearth, develop and promote the best new writing from across the Commonwealth, developing literary connections worldwide.
The Commonwealth Book Prize is awarded for the best first novel, and the Commonwealth Short Story Prize for the best piece of unpublished short fiction. Writers from around the world have been shortlisted in anticipation of being announced as overall winners at Hay Festival, on 31 May 2013.
Political, religious and social conflict runs through many of this year’s shortlisted entries, but there are also humorous stories, stories of hope, and stories full of imagination and power. The unmatched global reach of the prizes allows readers internationally to engage with a world of literature that might otherwise remain undiscovered, consistently bringing less-heard voices to the fore.
Encompassing a span of 54 countries, entries are judged within the five regions of Africa, Asia, Canada and Europe, the Caribbean and the Pacific, each of which will produce a regional winner for the two prizes. These will be announced on 14 May 2013.
The prizes’ judging panels are made up of eminent members of the international literary community. Commenting on the shortlisted entries, Chair of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize, BBC Special Correspondent Razia Iqbal, said, “People often assume short stories are easier to write because they’re, well, short! But it takes a particular skill to establish mood, character and tone in quick strokes, and tell a story which leaves a lasting impression. These stories open windows on worlds which seem familiar but, through fiction, which is tightly written, reflect those worlds, in richer and more surprising colours.”
Chair of the Commonwealth Book Prize, Godfrey Smith, said, “Our five judges did an admirable job of shortlisting from a bountiful harvest of debut novels, based on originality, linguistic flair, depth, quality of writing and freshness of tone. A number of books boldly pushed the boundaries of form and explosively rebelled against the conventional structures of fiction-writing, inspiring lively and passionate debates among the judges.”
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Alert! Liesl Jobson and A Igoni Barrett have been longlisted for the 2013 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award for Ride the Tortoise and Love Is Power, or Something Like That, respectively. Also on the list are South African-born, British-based author Deborah Levy for Black Vodka and Nigerian-American author Chinelo Okparanta for Happiness, Like Water.
The longlist includes 75 titles that will whittled down to a shortlist of six in late May. The winner of the €25,000 prize will be presented at the Cork International Short Story Festival in September. Other names on the list are Junot Diáz, Joyce Carol Oates, Ron Rash (who won the award previously) and 80s movie star Molly Ringwald.
The longlist for the 2013 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award contains seventy-five books. Among the authors include previous winner Ron Rash, previous shortlistee Peter Stamm, Hollywood actress Molly Ringwald and recent winner of the Sunday Times Short Story Award, Junot Diaz. A shortlist of up to six books will be selected in late May and the winner publicly announced next July. The award will be presented at the culmination of the Cork International Short Story Festival in September. This year we will be presenting the award for the ninth time.
Image courtesy 2seasons Guesthouse
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