Tope Folarin wins fourteenth Caine Prize for African Writing

By Robert Harper
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By Robert Harper

7/8/2013 11:35:35 PM -

Nigeria's Tope Folarin has won the 2013 Caine Prize for African Writing, described as Africa's leading literary award, for his short story entitled 'Miracle' from Transition, Issue 109 (Bloomington, 2012).

The Chair of Judges, Gus Casely-Hayford, announced Tope Folarin as the winner of the £10,000 prize at a dinner held this evening (Monday, 8 July) at the Bodleian Library in Oxford.

'Miracle' is a story set in Texas in an evangelical Nigerian church where the congregation has gathered to witness the healing powers of a blind pastor-prophet. Religion and the gullibility of those caught in the deceit that sometimes comes with faith rise to the surface as a young boy volunteers to be healed and begins to believe in miracles.

Gus Casely-Hayford praised the story, saying: 'Tope Folarin's 'Miracle' is another superb Caine Prize winner - a delightful and beautifully paced narrative, that is exquisitely observed and utterly compelling'.

Tope Folarin is the recipient of writing fellowships from the Institute for Policy Studies and Callaloo, and he serves on the board of the Hurston/Wright Foundation. Tope was educated at Morehouse College, and the University of Oxford, where he earned two Master's degrees as a Rhodes Scholar. He lives and works in Washington, DC.

Also shortlisted were:

· Pede Hollist (Sierra Leone) 'Foreign Aid' from Journal of Progressive Human Services, Vol. 23.3 (Philadelphia, 2012) www.tandfonline.com/loi/wphs20#.UZOV4bVlk_g

· Abubakar Adam Ibrahim (Nigeria) 'The Whispering Trees' from The Whispering Trees, published by Parrésia Publishers (Lagos, 2012) www.parresiapublishers.com

· Elnathan John (Nigeria) 'Bayan Layi' from Per Contra, Issue 25 (USA, 2012) www.percontra.net

· Chinelo Okparanta (Nigeria) 'America' from Granta, Issue 118 (London, 2012) www.granta.com

The panel of judges is chaired by Dr Gus Casely-Hayford, art historian and broadcaster, who presented the eight part documentary series 'Lost Kingdoms of Africa' on the BBC. He is currently a Research Associate at SOAS and consultant to the King's Cultural Institute. Gus sits on the Tate Britain Council and the National Portrait Gallery Board of Trustees.

Alongside Gus on the panel of judges this year are award-winning Nigerian-born artist, Sokari Douglas Camp; author, columnist and Lord Northcliffe Emeritus Professor at UCL, John Sutherland; Assistant Professor at Georgetown University, Nathan Hensley and the winner of the Caine Prize in its inaugural year, Leila Aboulela. This is the first time that a past winner of the Caine Prize has taken part in the judging.

Once again the winner of the £10,000 Caine Prize 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 and will be invited to take part in the Open Book Festival in Cape Town in September.

Last year the Caine Prize was won by Nigerian writer Rotimi Babatunde. He recently co-authored Feast, a Royal Court/Young Vic co-production which ran at the Young Vic as part of World Stages for a World City.

Previous winners are 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) and Zimbabwean NoViolet Bulawayo (2011).

Editor's Note:
The Caine Prize, awarded annually for African creative writing, is named after the late Sir Michael Caine, former Chairman of Booker plc and Chairman 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). An “African writer” is normally taken to mean someone who was born in Africa, or who is a national of an African country, or whose parents are African.

The African winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Wole Soyinka, Nadine Gordimer and J M Coetzee, are Patrons of The Caine Prize. Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne is President of the Council, Ben Okri OBE is Vice President, Jonathan Taylor CBE is the Chairman and Ellah Allfrey OBE is the Deputy Chairperson.

The five shortlisted stories, alongside stories written at Caine Prize workshops, are published annually by New Internationalist (UK), Jacana Media (South Africa), Cassava Republic (Nigeria), Kwani? (Kenya), Sub-Saharan Publishers (Ghana), FEMRITE (Uganda), Bookworld Publishers (Zambia) and ‘amaBooks (Zimbabwe). Books are available from the publishers or from the Africa Book Centre, African Books Collective or Amazon.

The New Internationalist edition was published in June 2013. (ISBN 978-1-78026-119-5 print; ISBN 978-1-78026-120-1 ebook)

The Caine Prize is principally supported by The Oppenheimer Memorial Trust, the Booker Prize Foundation, Miles Morland, Weatherly International plc, China Africa Resources and CSL Stockbrokers. Other funders include the DOEN Foundation, British Council, The Lennox and Wyfold Foundation, The Beit Trust, Commonwealth Writers, the cultural initiative from the Commonwealth Foundation, the Royal OverSeas League and Kenya Airways.

For further information, photos or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Jenny Casswell
Raitt Orr & Associates
Tel: 0207 250 8288 / Mob: 07796 131447
[email protected]

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Read our blog http://caineprize.blogspot.co.uk/

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