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Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Zambian Author, Namwali Serpell Wins Sixteenth Caine Prize for African Writing


The annual Caine Prize for African Writing  award ceremony was held on July 6th, at the Bodeleian Libraries in Oxford, United Kingdom.
Zambia’s Namwali Serpell is the 2015 Caine Prize for African Writing winner, described as Africa’s leading literary award, for her short story entitled “The Sack” from Africa39 (Bloomsbury, London, 2014).
The Chair of Judges, Zoë Wicomb, announced Namwali Serpell as the winner of the £10,000 prize.

“The Sack” explores a world where dreams and reality are both claustrophobic and dark. The relationship between two men and an absent woman are explored though troubled interactions and power relationships which jar with the views held by the characters.

Zoë Wicomb praised the story, saying, “From a very strong shortlist we have picked an extraordinary story about the aftermath of revolution with its liberatory promises shattered. It makes demands on the reader and challenges conventions of the genre. It yields fresh meaning with every reading. Formally innovative, stylistically stunning, haunting and enigmatic in its effects. ‘The Sack’ is a truly luminous winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing.”



Namwali Serpell’s first published story, “Muzungu,” was selected for the Best American Short Stories 2009 and shortlisted for the 2010 Caine Prize for African Writing. In 2014, she was selected as one of the most promising African writers for the Africa 39 Anthology, a project of the Hay festival. Her writing has appeared in Tin House, The Believer, n+1, McSweeney’s (forthcoming), Bidoun, Callaloo, The San Francisco Chronicle, The L.A. Review of Books, and The Guardian. She is an associate professor in the University of California, Berkeley English department; her first book of literary criticism, Seven Modes of Uncertainty, was published in 2014.

Other shortlisted writers include:

Segun Afolabi (Nigeria) for “The Folded Leaf” in Wasafiri (Wasafiri, London, 2014)
- Caine Prize winner 2005 for “Monday Morning”
- The Folded Leaf
Elnathan John (Nigeria) for “Flying” in Per Contra (Per Contra, International, 2014)
- Shortlisted in 2013 for “Bayan Layi”
“Flying”
FT Kola (South Africa) for “A Party for the Colonel” in One Story (One Story, inc. Brooklyn, New York City, 2014)
Read “A Party for the Colonel”
Masande Ntshanga (South Africa) for “Space” in Twenty in 20 (Times Media, South Africa, 2014)
“Space” 

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