SOUTH African writer, Lidudumalingani, has won the 2016 Caine Prize for African Writing for his short story Memories We Lost, published in Incredible Journey: Stories That Move You (Burnet Media).
He received a prize of £10,000 following a special dinner at the Bodleian Library in Oxford, United Kingdom on July 4.
Memories We Lost tells the emotionally charged story of a girl who acts as protector of her sister, whose serious mental-health problems cause consternation in a South African village. Her situation deteriorates as her care is entrusted to Nkunzi, a local man who employs traditional techniques to rid people of their demons
The chairperson of judges, Delia Jarrett-Macauley (author of the literary biography, The life of Una Marson 1905-1965, and of the Orwell prize-winning novel, Moses, Citizen and Me), praised the story, saying: “The winning story explores a difficult subject – how traditional beliefs in a rural community are used to tackle schizophrenia.
“This is a troubling piece, depicting the great love between two young siblings in a beautifully drawn Eastern Cape. Multi-layered, and gracefully narrated, this short story leaves the reader full of sympathy and wonder at the plight of its protagonists.”
Lidudumalingani, a writer, filmmaker and photographer, from Zikhovane in the Eastern Cape, will be given the opportunity to take up a month’s residence at Georgetown University, as a Writer-in-Residence at the Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice.
He will also be invited to speak at the Library of Congress and will be invited to take part in the Open Book Festival in Cape Town, Storymoja in Nairobi and Ake Festival in Abeokuta, Nigeria.
His competitors on the 2016 shortlist were:
- Lesley Nneka Arimah (Nigeria) for What it Means When a Man Falls From the Sky published in Catapult (Catapult, USA, 2015);
- Tope Folarin (Nigeria) for Genesis published in Callaloo (Johns Hopkins University Press, USA, 2014);
- Bongani Kona (Zimbabwe) for At Your Requiem published in Incredible Journey: Stories That Move You (Burnet Media, South Africa, 2015); and
- Abdul Adan (Somalia/Kenya) for The Lifebloom Gift published in The Gonjon Pin and Other Stories: The Caine Prize for African Writing 2014 (New Internationalist, United Kingdom, 2014).
Each shortlisted writer will also receive £500.
A total of 166 short stories from writers representing 23 African countries were received and entered into the 2016 Caine Prize.
Last year the prize was won by Zambian writer Namwali Serpell, an associate professor at the University of California, Berkeley English department. Her first book of literary criticism, Seven Modes of Uncertainty, was published in 2014.
Namwali’s first book of fiction, The Old Drift, will be published by Hogarth in the United States and Chatto and Windus in the United Kingdom.
All the shortlisted stories, along with 12 other short stories written at the Caine Prize 2016 workshop in Zambia, will be published in The New Internationalist 2016 anthology, which is available to buy at https://newint.org/books/fiction/caine-prize-2016/.
About the Caine Prize
- The Caine Prize, awarded annually for African creative writing, is named after the late Sir Michael Caine, former chairperson of Booker plc and chairperson 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).
- The African winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Wole Soyinka and J M Coetzee, are Patrons of The Caine Prize.
- Previous winners include: 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 Tope Folarin (2013), Kenyan Okwiri Oduor (2014); and Zambian Namwali Serpell (2015).