SOAS University of London

Alumna Idza Luhumyo wins the 2022 AKO Caine Prize for African Writing

26 July 2022

Kenyan writer and SOAS alumna Idza Luhumyo has been awarded the 2022 AKO Caine Prize for African Writing for her short story ‘Five Years Next Sunday’.  

Idza is the 2021 Margaret Busby New Daughters of Africa scholar achieving her MA in Comparative Literature in 2021.

She is the fifth Kenyan writer to win the award after Binyavanga Wainaina (2002), Yvonne Owuor (2003), Okwiri Oduor (2014) and Makena Onjerika (2018).

Okey Ndibe, Chair of the 2022 AKO Caine Prize Judging Panel, announced the winner at an award ceremony on 19 July at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. 

Idza’s  story was described by Ndibe as ‘an incandescent story - its exquisite language wedded to the deeply moving drama of a protagonist whose mystical office invites animus at every turn.’ 

Idza takes the £10,000 prize, beating 267 eligible entries in a record year of submissions. She will be published in the 2022 AKO Caine Prize anthology later this year by Cassava Republic Press. 

‘Five Years Next Sunday’, which won the 2021 Short Story Day Africa Prize, is a story about a young woman with the unique power to call the rain in her hair. Feared by her family and community, a chance encounter with a foreigner changes her fortunes, but there are duplicitous designs upon her most prized and vulnerable possession.

Fareda Banda, Professor of Law attended the ceremony and said: 

“It was very moving and a wonderful affirmation of the collective generosity of the contributors to the New Daughters of Africa who donated their royalties so that the scholarship could be set up in Margaret's name. The generosity of contributors to the Anthology helped to set up the Margaret Busby award at SOAS of which Idza was inaugural."

Judging the Prize alongside Ndibe this year were French-Guinean author and academic Elisa Diallo; South African literary curator and co-founder of The Cheeky Natives Letlhogonolo Mokgoroane; UK-based Nigerian visual artist Ade ‘Àsìkò’ Okelarin; Kenyan co-founder of the Book Bunk Angela Wachuka. 

Idza and Margaret Busby

Idza Luhumyo (L) pictured with Margaret Busby (R)

'Five Years Next Sunday’ can be read on the AKO Caine Prize website.

You can support the next generation of African female writers and create a lasting legacy by donating to the Margaret Busby New Daughter of Africa Award at SOAS.