Alert! The 2015 Caine Prize for African Writing judging panel was announced at the Ake Arts and Book Festival in Abeokuta in Nigeria on Friday.
Award-winning South African author Zoë Wicomb will chair the panel, joined by television and radio journalist Zeinab Badawi, Indian author and Man Booker Prize shortlistee Neel Mukherjee, Assistant Professor of English at the University of Georgetown Cóilín Parsons (who was previously at the University of Cape Town), and Brian Chikwava, winner of the 2004 Caine Prize.
Caine Prize Director Lizzy Attree said: “We are proud to announce the 2015 judges early this year and hope the calibre of this outstanding panel will encourage publishers to enter stories before the deadline of 31 January, 2015.”
The judges will meet in late April 2015 to decide on a shortlist, and the winning story will be announced at the Bodleian Library in Oxford, England, on Monday, 6 July, 2015.
This year’s winner was Okwiri Oduor, for her short story “My Father’s Head”, which originally appeared in Short Story Day Africa’s collection, Feast, Famine and Potluck. This year’s Caine Prize anthology is entitled The Gonjon Pin.
Caine Prize 2015 judging panel announced in Nigeria
The judges of this year’s Caine Prize for African Writing were announced today at the Ake Arts and Book Festival in Abeokuta, Nigeria. The panel will be chaired by award-winning South African author Zoë Wicomb. She will be joined by the distinguished television and radio journalist Zeinab Badawi, Indian author and Man Booker Prize shortlistee Neel Mukherjee, Assistant Professor of English at the University of Georgetown Cóilín Parsons, and Brian Chikwava, the winner of the Caine Prize in 2004.
During the announcement Caine Prize Director Lizzy Attree stated, “We are proud to announce the 2015 judges early this year and hope the calibre of this outstanding panel will encourage publishers to enter stories before the deadline of 31 January 2015.”
Last year a record 140 qualifying stories were submitted to the judges from 17 African countries. The judges will meet in late April 2015 to decide on the shortlisted stories, which will be announced shortly thereafter. £500 will be awarded to each shortlisted writer. The winning story will be announced at a dinner at the Bodleian Library in Oxford on Monday 6 July 2015.
The five shortlisted stories, alongside the stories written at the annual Caine Prize workshop, are published annually by New Internationalist in the UK and publishers in eight African countries; ‘amaBooks (Zimbabwe), Bookworld Publishers (Zambia), Cassava Republic (Nigeria), FEMRITE (Uganda), Jacana Media (South Africa), Kwani? (Kenya), Langaa Research and Publishing CIG (Cameroon), Lantern Books (Nigeria) and Sub-Saharan Publishers (Ghana).
Caine Prize workshops are held in Africa for writers who have been shortlisted for the Caine Prize and other talented writers who have come to the Prize’s attention through the selection process. Each workshop consists of 12 writers from different African countries, who convene for ten days to read and discuss work in progress and to learn from two more experienced writers, who act as tutors or animateurs. It is planned that next year’s workshop, which will be the thirteenth, will be held in Ghana.
Included in the 2014 anthology is the story by this year’s Kenyan winner, Okwiri Oduor. Jackie Kay MBE, chair of the 2014 judging panel said of the author, “Okwiri Oduor is a writer we are all really excited to have discovered. ‘My Father’s Head’ is an uplifting story about mourning – Joycean in its reach. She exercises an extraordinary amount of control and yet the story is subtle, tender and moving. It is a story you want to return to the minute you finish it.”
Short Story Day Africa has organised a special treat for us this Fiction Friday: Diane Awerbuck’s winning story from the new SSDA anthology, Terra Incognita, and a cover reveal!
Awerbuck was announced as this year’s Short Story Day Africa winner last Friday, for her short story “Leatherman”, which judges Richard de Nooy, Samuel Kolawole and Jared Shurin called “dark, twisted and visceral”. You can read the full story below.
But before you do, feast your eyes on this year’s anthology cover, which was designed by Nick Mulgrew.
Mulgrew says: “I’d like to say that the design is about subverting colonial cartographic tropes, and as well as about undermining ideas of Africa as a dark, impenetrable continent, in order to reclaim and reposition them in a more modern, Afrofuturist context – and, sure, it is about that – but mostly I think it just looks nice.”
We’re delighted to announce that Short Story Day Africa has joined the Books LIVE community. Read more about the design of the cover on their blog at SSDA.bookslive.co.za.
Read Awerbuck’s story:
Diane Awerbuck's short story Leatherman by Books LIVE
Suzette Kotzé-Myburgh het onlangs vir Johann Nel genooi om twee kortverhale deur Chris Barnard op RSG se Kortom-program voor te lees. Die verhale verskyn in Oulap se blou: Veertig kort vertellings.
Nel het begin met “Rooi Koos hardloop die myl”. In hierdie storie onthou die verteller ’n armsalige klasmaat wat saam met hom grootgeword het, Rooi Koos van Niekerk. “Rooi Koos se pa was ’n sukkelaar,” begin die vertelling oor die seunskind wat eerder op die plaas gewerk het as om skool toe te gaan. Rooi Koos se huiswerk was dikwels agter, maar op atletiekdag het hy geskitter.
Die spreker beskryf hoe Rooi Koos van alles af probeer weghardloop het: “Rooi Koos van Niekerk hol weg van die goiter, en sy pa wat skel op die werf, en die huiswerk wat hy nie gedoen het nie, sy suster se asma.” Aan die einde wonder hy wat van Rooi Koos geword het: “Die lewe is heelwat langer as ’n myl en die lewe het ’n manier om ’n mens in te haal.”
Die tweede verhaal, “Poensie herwin sy geloof”, handel ook oor ’n buitestander. Poensie is ’n boekwurm met ’n dikraambril wat boeke oor bygelowe versamel het en self bygelowig was. Diep in die dertig het hy nog nie ’n meisie fliek toe gevat nie. Op 37 trou hy uiteindelik met ’n vrou wat hy op ’n bus ontmoet het, maar wanneer die spreker by sy huis gaan kuier sien hy Poensie bekommer hom nie meer oor bygelowe nie.
Luister na die potgooi om te hoor hoe Poensie dan uiteindelik sy geloof herwin het:
Gelowiges, oopkopmense en brose eenspaaiers sal hierdie afdeling loutere plesier vind om te lees, selfs inspirerend. Dis ook nie Botha se skuld dat ek die pad byster geraak het nie, hy was ’n goeie Sondagskoolonnie wat die Bybel se stories poëties en genietlik aangebied het.
En dis dié stem van hierdie melancholiese en tog stuitige storieverteller van destyds uit my kinderjare wat ek regdeur die boek duidelik hoor.
Joanne Hichens – editor of the Adults Only, the second annual Short.Sharp.Stories Awards anthology – interviews Sean Mayne. His story “Bring On The Clowns” won the Judges Choice Award for Loudest Laugh.
Sean Mayne started his writing career as a travelling salesman, meaning he can fib straight-faced with the best of them. This, together with an inclination for daydreaming, means he is perfectly suited to the world of fiction. He currently writes newsletters persuading people to purchase things they don’t really need. The few times he was actively employed he disappeared into the internet, only to pop up in disguise as a friendly troll on his boss’s dime. (In fact, if you need someone to run your company at a loss for tax purposes, he’s your man.)
Your story “Bring on the Clowns” was described by the judges as a “belly-laugh, a feel good read that offers the luxury of laughing out loud…” Did you purposefully go the route of humour?
Regarding the erotica theme, I chose the humorous route to avoid frightening my wife, Kim, with the reality of what goes through the average male mind.
And now that you are not only a published, but a prize-winning writer of ‘erotica’ – your story came in second to Nick Mulgrew’s “Turning” – how does Kim feel about that?
Unfortunately, she won’t let me run for head of the Porn Writers Guild of South Africa, which is a shame. She didn’t even know I had entered the competition until you told me I was a finalist, Joanne, so I have been getting the skeef eye since, like What else are you going to spring on me, dude?
I still have difficulty explaining to friends (and family) that I am not a porn writer per se. I just write according to whatever the theme is. Yeah sure.
Has Kim turned you into a sex toy now that she knows what you’re obsessed with?
Well, she has always liked candles, so hot wax was the logical next step. I’m going to be in trouble for saying that. I mean I hope I am going to be in trouble for saying that. Just last night I was whipped for making eye contact while I was doing the ironing, so I’m interested to see why she has ordered me to bring jumper-lead cables home tonight.
Heh heh. And for you, was it a surprise of sorts? To be a prize-winner?
It was a complete surprise as this was my first story ever. I must admit it took me a long time to write, over 6 weeks. I am also a slow reader because I like to go over bits that I enjoy. I suppose that certain stories will not appeal to everyone and that there is a bit of luck involved regards the judges’ tastes. Winning a prize has made me focus on finding more time to write, but I think I need to take some lessons. Professor Google gives useful tips, but I’m such a bloody beginner.
But you did it, you wrote and sent in a story!
My five cents for anyone hoping to get published in Short.Sharp.Stories is to at least buy the book. It helps to examine what the finalists have produced and it also gives an insight to how the judges may see things.
What inspired you to write “Bring on the Clowns”? How did the story evolve?
My starting point was a block of flats. For some reason I associate people living in close proximity with voyeurism, probably because even though they are neighbours they are still mostly strangers. I battle to walk past an apartment window without sneaking a peek. What are people up to? Why is number seven’s door open? Who’s that in the shower? Hey, don’t call the police, it’s only me from number three!
Many years ago a friend told me how his builder did some ‘accidental’ building work. I love stories like that because they immediately make you picture an outcome – in this case the neighbours face as he arrives home to see the changes. I shelved that incident in the back of my mind and when I contemplated the theme of Adults Only it came in use. I focused on voyeurism because it’s so prevalent over the internet these days, so I’ve heard. And I like absurdity in a story, where the reader is not quite sure whether they are supposed to take the yarn seriously or not.
Were you purposefully wanting to ‘send up’ erotica?
I created a really seedy character who fancies himself as honourable, but in reality is a scaly little weasel. His attempt to get closer to the woman next door takes a turn after an ‘unfortunate’ incident. Or was it all an accident?
I kept things subtle, and because I’m not a Lindsay Clarke or Barbara Kingsolver, I wrote within my means, which is a bit of absurdity spiked with odd-ball humour: perfect for a send up of erotica. I had no idea how the yarn would end, so I played around with a couple of scenarios until one fit.
So what’s next for you?
My next step is to write more short stories. Short story writers I look up to include Darrel Bristow-Bovey, Garrison Keillor and Ellen Gilchrist. I can read all of their work again and again and that is my measure for a good story. My go-to guy for inspiration is David Sedaris, but unfortunately he makes it look so easy.
I also have a rough draft complete of a novella set in Pietersburg (the pre-Polokwane town that liked to call itself a city) around 1989. I was a sloppy chef in the Far North army intelligence base there and I feel I witnessed (and caused) enough buffoonery to write about it. Besides, ‘army intelligence’ is an oxymoron that needs some dismantling.
As long as you keep us laughing, Sean…
“Die bloemlesing is ’n voortvloeisel van ’n doktorale proefskrif oor waterslangverhale in Afrikaans wat ek reeds begin 2000 voltooi het. Agterin bedank ek Hennie Aucamp en George Weideman vir hulle hulp, veral met die insameling en keuse van tekste vir bespreking.”
Só het Jean Lombard aan Naomi Meyer vertel oor die oorsprong van haar bloemlesing, Die ding in die riete, wat vanjaar by Tafelberg verskyn het.
“Ek wou naamlik baie graag met lesers deel hoe wydverspreid hierdie wonderbaarlike waterverskynsels in die wêreldmitologieë en -letterkundes voorkom,” het Lombard gesê.
Lees die artikel:
Slange is volop in mites en verhale. Wat was vir jou die belangrikste aspekte om in hierdie boek te beklemtoon en waarom?
Wat vir my die verrassendste was om vas te stel, was die feit dat daar soveel waterslangverhale – oor dieselfde wonderslang as waarvan die Khoekhoen en die Boesmans vertel – in Afrikááns bestaan, mondeling en skriftelik. Ek kon dus die afleiding maak dat die waterslangargetipe deel uitmaak van Afrikaanssprekendes se onbewuste, dalk selfs van ’n bewuste geloof – hoewel baie mense dit as bygeloof sal dui.
Maar ek het ook gevind dat die grense tussen geloof en bygeloof nie altyd so fyn te onderskei is nie. Wat vir die een geloof is, is vir die ander by- of ongeloof. Linda Rode het in ons bekendstellingsgesprek ’n vriend aangehaal wat haar daaraan herinner het dat wat tans vir baie mense mite is, vroeër as waarheid gegeld het.