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Two Nigerian Writers Make 2019 Cain Prize Shortlist

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TWO Nigerian writers, Lesley Arimah and Tochukwu Okafor have been shortlisted for the 2019 Caine Prize for African Writing for July.

Lesley Arimah and Tochukwu Okafor have been shortlisted for the 2019 Caine Prize for African Writing

The shortlisted persons were announced on May 20 and the competition is to feature stories that tackle “the ordinary in an extraordinary manner”.

It will also feature the celebration of the diversity of the African short-story writing tradition for the twentieth edition of the prize.

The five-writer shortlist, which includes authors from Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya and Nigeria, was announced by this year’s Chair of judges, Kenyan author Dr Peter Kimani.

Kimani, author of the award-winning novel Dance of the Jakaranda , said: “This is a special year for the Caine Prize for African Writing, as it marks its twentieth anniversary. It’s a milestone that affords for both a reflection on the past, and a projection into the future.

“Without exception, past Caine Prize winners have been revolutionary and evolutionary— breaking fresh ground, while pushing the African story from the margins to the mainstream of world literature.

“The five writers on this year’s shortlist carry on with that tradition, not just in their inventiveness in imagining the world, but also in tackling the ordinary in an extraordinary manner, in a wide-range of issues: gender and generation; home and exile; sexuality and religion; love and hate; happiness and heartbreak.”

The shortlisted writers for the 2019 Caine Prize are:

Lesley Nneka Arimah (Nigeria) for ‘Skinned’, published in McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern , Issue 53 (2018).

• Meron Hadero (Ethiopia) for ‘The Wall’, published in McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern , Issue 52 (2018).

• Cherrie Kandie (Kenya) for ‘Sew My Mouth’, published in ID Identity: New Short Fiction From Africa (2018).

• Ngwah-Mbo Nana Nkweti (Cameroon) for ‘It Takes A Village Some Say’, published in The Baffler (2017).

• Tochukwu Emmanuel Okafor (Nigeria) for ‘All Our Lives’, published in ID Identity: New Short Fiction From Africa (2018)

The Caine Prize for African Writing this year received 131 qualifying submissions from 21 African countries. This year’s entries came from all over the continent, from Angola to Zambia, Liberia and Tanzania, representing a diversity of cultures and perspective

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The winner of this year’s £10,000 prize will be announced at an award ceremony and dinner in the Beveridge Hall at Senate House, SOAS, on Monday 8 July 2018 – in partnership with SOAS, University of London. Each shortlisted writer will also receive £500.

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