Lesley Nneka Arimah, Chikodili Emelumadu, and Arinze Ifeakandu are three Nigerians on the five-writer shortlist for the 2017 Caine Prize for African Writing. The shortlist, which was announced by the Chair of judges and award-winning author, Nii Ayikwei Parkes, includes a former Caine Prize shortlistee and features a story translated from Arabic for the second time in the 18-year history of the Prize.
“This year’s submissions were a pleasure to read; we were all impressed by the quality and imaginative ambition of the work received. Indeed, there were a dozen stories that did not make the shortlist that would win other competitions,” Parkes said of the submissions. He also described the five stories on the shortlist as “unrelentingly haunting”, adding that they reveal the depth and strength of short story writing in Africa and its diaspora.
The 2017 shortlist includes:
- Lesley Nneka Arimah (Nigeria) for ‘Who Will Greet You At Home’ published in The New Yorker (USA. 2015).
Read: ‘Who Will Greet You At Home’
- Chikodili Emelumadu (Nigeria) for ‘Bush Baby’ published in African Monsters, eds. Margarét Helgadóttir and Jo Thomas (Fox Spirit Books, UK. 2015).
Read: ‘Bush Baby’
- Arinze Ifeakandu (Nigeria) for ‘God’s Children Are Little Broken Things’ published in A Public Space 24 (A Public Space Literary Projects Inc., USA. 2016).
- Bushra al-Fadil (Sudan) for ‘The Story of the Girl whose Birds Flew Away’, translated by Max Shmookler, published in The Book of Khartoum – A City in Short Fiction Raph Cormack & Max Shmookler (Comma Press, UK. 2016).
- Magogodi oaMphela Makhene (South Africa) for ‘The Virus’ published in The Harvard Review 49 (Houghton Library Harvard University, USA. 2016).
Read: ‘The Virus’
Other judges joining Parkes include the 2007 Caine Prize winner, Monica Arac de Nyeko; Libyan author and human rights campaigner, Ghazi Gheblawi; distinguished African literary scholar, Dr Ranka Primorac, University of Southampton; and accomplished author and Chair of the English Department at Georgetown University, Professor Ricardo Ortiz.
The winner of the Caine Prize will be announced at an award ceremony and dinner at Senate House Library, London, on Monday, July 3, 2017. He or she will be awarded the sum of £10,000, while other shortlisted writers will receive the sum of £500.
Since its inception in 2000, Nigerian writers have had the most wins with five awards, followed by Kenyan and South African writers with three awards each. Previous winners of the Caine Prize includes Olufemi Terry from Sierra Leone (2010); NoViolet Bulawayo from Zimbabwe (2011); Nigerian Rotimi Babatunde (2012); Nigerian Tope Folarin (2013); Kenyan Okwiri Oduor (2014); Namwali Serpell from Zambia (2015); and South African Lidudumalingani (2016).