11 July 2017
The winner of the 2017 Caine Prize for African Writing was announced at an award ceremony in Senate House last week in partnership with SOAS University of London.
The Chair of Judges, Nii Ayikwei Parkes, announced Bushra al-Fadil as the winner of the £10,000 prize at the award dinner, held for the first time London, in partnership with SOAS as part of our centenary celebrations.
Bushra al-Fadil received Africa’s leading literary award, for his short story entitled “The Story of the Girl Whose Birds Flew Away”, translated by Max Shmookler, published in The Book of Khartoum - A City in Short Fiction (Comma Press, UK. 2016). The story vividly describes life in a bustling market through the eyes of the narrator, who becomes entranced by a beautiful woman he sees there one day. After a series of brief encounters, tragedy unexpectedly befalls the woman and her young female companion.
Bushra was joined on the 2017 shortlist by Lesley Nneka Arimah (Nigeria) for ‘Who Will Greet You At Home’ published in The New Yorker (USA. 2015); Chikodili Emelumadu (Nigeria) for ‘Bush Baby’ published in African Monsters, eds. Margarét Helgadóttir and Jo Thomas (Fox Spirit Books, UK. 2015); 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) and Magogodi oaMphela Makhene (South Africa) for ‘The Virus’ published in The Harvard Review 49 (Houghton Library Harvard University, USA. 2016).
Speaking at the event, the Director of SOAS Baroness Valerie Amos CH said that we hope to do more activities with the Caine Prize as at SOAS we champion African literature. Guests also enjoyed readings of the finalists’ work by the actress Adjoa Andoh, known on the UK stage for lead roles at the RSC, the National Theatre, the Royal Court Theatre and the Almeida Theatre. The Nigerian poet and novelist Ben Okri provided the keynote speech.