The Caine Prize for African Writing has announced the five judges for the 2018 Prize. Georgetown University’s nomination to the panel, Dinaw Mengestu, will serve as the Chair of judges. An award winning Ethiopian-American novelist and writer, Dinaw is the former Chair in Poetry at the Lannan Foundation at Georgetown. He will be joined by: Henrietta Rose-Innes, South African author and winner of the 2008 Caine Prize; Lola Shoneyin, award winning author and Director of the Ake Arts and Books Festival; Alain Mabanckou, world-renowned writer and Professor of Literature at UCLA; and Ahmed Rajab, a Zanzibar-born international journalist, political analyst and essayist.
Collectively, the panel brings a variety of experience to the judging process, as outlined below:
Commenting on the 2018 judging panel, Chair of the Caine Prize, Dr Delia Jarrett-Macauley, said, “I am delighted that Dinaw Mengestu has agreed to be our 2018 Chair of the judges and we are looking forward to celebrating the panel’s findings.”
The deadline for submissions to the 2018 Caine Prize is 31 January.
Publishers are encouraged to submit qualifying stories in good time. Submissions are welcome year round and late submissions will be entered in to the competition for the following year. The 2017 Caine Prize was awarded to Bushra al-Fadil, for his work, “The Story of the Girl Whose Birds Flew Away” – translated from the original Arabic and published in The Book of Khartoum by Comma Press. Publishers are encouraged to submit published translations of work in to English for consideration. Last year Max Shmookler and Najlaa Osman Eltom received a portion of the prize money for their translation of Bushra’s short story.
The judging panel will meet in April 2018 to determine which entries will make the shortlist.
For the second time in the 19 year history of the Caine Prize, the award will be announced on Monday 2 July at Senate House, London, in collaboration with the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).
Notes to Editors
The Caine Prize, awarded annually for African creative writing, is named after the late Sir Michael Caine, former Chairman of Booker plc and Chairman of the Booker Prize management committee for nearly 25 years.
The Prize is awarded for a short story by an African writer published in English (indicative length 3,000 to 10,000 words). An African writer is taken to mean someone who was born in Africa, or who is a national of an African country, or who has a parent who is African by birth or nationality.
The African winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Wole Soyinka and J M Coetzee, are Patrons of The Caine Prize. Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne is President of the Council, Ben Okri OBE is Vice President, Dr Delia Jarrett-Macauley is the Chair, Adam Freudenheim is the Deputy Chairperson and Dr Lizzy Attree is the Director.
Previous winners are Sudan’s Leila Aboulela (2000), Nigerian Helon Habila (2001), Kenyan Binyavanga Wainaina (2002), Kenyan Yvonne Owuor (2003), Zimbabwean Brian Chikwava (2004), Nigerian Segun Afolabi (2005), South African Mary Watson (2006), Ugandan Monica Arac de Nyeko (2007), South African Henrietta Rose-Innes (2008), Nigerian EC Osondu (2009), Sierra Leonean Olufemi Terry (2010), Zimbabwean NoViolet Bulawayo (2011), Nigerian Rotimi Babatunde (2012), Nigerian Tope Folarin (2013), Kenyan Okwiri Oduor (2014), Zambian Namwali Serpell (2015), and South African Lidudumalingani (2016); and Sudanese writer, Bushra al-Fadil (2017).
The five shortlisted stories, alongside stories written at Caine Prize workshop held in Tanzania in March 2017, are published annually by New Internationalist (UK), Interlink Publishing (USA), Jacana Media (South Africa), Lantern Books (Nigeria), Kwani? (Kenya), Sub-Saharan Publishers (Ghana), FEMRITE (Uganda), ‘amaBooks (Zimbabwe), Mkuki na Nyota (Tanzania), Redsea Cultural Foundation (Somaliland, Somalia, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, South Sudan and UAE), Gadsden Publishers (Zambia) and Huza Press (Rwanda). Books are available from the publishers or from the Africa Book Centre, African Books Collective or Amazon. This 2017 anthology is titled, The Goddess of Mtwara and Other Stories.
The Caine Prize is principally supported by The Oppenheimer Memorial Trust, The Miles Morland Foundation, The Carnegie Corporation, the Booker Prize Foundation, The Sigrid Rausing Trust, the Royal Over-Seas League and John and Judy Niepold. Other funders and partners include, The British Council, Georgetown University (USA), The Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice, The van Agtmael Family Charitable Fund, Rupert and Clare McCammon, Adam and Victoria Freudenheim, Arindam Bhattacherjee, Phillip Ihenacho and other generous donors.