The Caine Prize for African Writing is Africa's leading literary
prize, and is awarded to a short story by an African writer
published in English, whether in Africa or elsewhere. The Caine
Prize is now in its thirteenth year. The judges' panel is chaired
by author and editor Bernardine Evaristo. Joining her are Nima
Elbagir, International Correspondent for CNN; Maya Jaggi,
award-winning cultural journalist and an influential critic;
Samantha Pinto, Assistant Professor of English at Georgetown
University in Washington, DC; and Chirikure Chirikure, performance
poet and cultural consultant. The 2012 shortlist comprises: Rotimi
Babatunde (Nigeria) 'Bombay's Republic' from Mirabilia Review Vol.
3.9 (Lagos, 2011); Billy Kahora (Kenya) 'Urban Zoning' from
McSweeney's Vol. 37 (San Francisco, 2011); Stanley Kenani (Malawi)
'Love on Trial' from For Honour and Other Stories published by
eKhaya/Random House Struik (Cape Town, 2011); Melissa Tandiwe
Myambo (Zimbabwe) 'La Salle de Depart' from Prick of the Spindle
Vol. 4.2 (New Orleans, June, 2010); Constance Myburgh (South
Africa) 'Hunter Emmanuel' from Jungle Jim Issue 6, (Cape Town,
2011) The Caine Prize for African Writing showcases young writers
who go on to publish successful novels, for instance: Leila
Aboulela, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Brian Chikwava and Helon
Habila. The book includes 18 short stories - the winner and
shortlist (5 stories) plus a dozen stories written at the Caine
Prize writers' workshop. It will be released in time for the
announcement of the award in July 2012. The four African winners of
the Nobel Prize for Literature, Wole Soyinka, Nadine Gordimer,
Naguib Mahfouz and John Coetzee are patrons of the Caine Prize.
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Review This Product
Rich collection of Human Interest Stories
Mon, 19 Nov 2012 | Review by: Judy Croome | @judy_croome
If you're a reader looking for a book to perk your jaded interest in a world with too many homogeneous books, "AFRICAN VIOLET and other stories", the collection of the 2012 Caine Prize for African Writing shortlisted entries, is the book for you.
These 15 unique short stories depict the reality of this continent: brutal, passionate and wounded. In each, the different facets of Africa glitter with tears of despair, anger, rage and desperation. But there are also glimpses of that spirit that gives Africa her strength: even in the darkest stories there is courage and hope, and sometimes laughter.
My favourite story is "La Salle de Depart" by Zimbabwean author Melissa Tandiwe Myambo. Her deeply nuanced story of a young Senegalese man, whose family sacrificed everything to send him to America expecting him to help uplift the rest of the extended family, and the struggle between the Western value of individualism versus the African value of family collectivism, was a poignant masterpiece. Every person who feels the conflict between their love for their family and a desire to meet personal goals will find this story resonating with them.
Another excellent story is "African Violet" by South African author Rehana Rossouw. Who would think that the offering of a small pot plant could so brilliantly represent both the intense struggle and deeply ingrained prejudices that post-apartheid South Africa must deal with?
Although I've mentioned only two of my favourites, each story in this collection provides an excellent read, as is expected from a competition of this calibre, and every reader will no doubt find their personal favourite.
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