Three Nigerian Authors Make AKO Caine Prize For African Writing Shortlist

by Yinka Akanbi

The AKO Caine Prize for African Writing has announced the shortlist of the 2020 edition of the prize.

The prize is awarded annually for a short story by an African writer published in English Language.

Three Nigerian authors – Jowhor Ile (Fisherman’s Stew), Chikodili Emelumadu (What To Do When Your Child Brings Home A Mami Wata), and Irenosen Okojie (Grace Jones) – made this year’s shortlist. Tanzanian author, Erica Sugo Anyadike (How To Marry An African President) and Rwandan-born Namibian author, Remy Ngamije (The Neighbourhood Watch) also made the five-man list.

Announcing the 2020 shortlist, Director of UK’s The Africa Centre and Chair of the Prize’s Panel of Judges, Kenneth Olumuyiwa Tharp said: “We were energised by the enormous breadth and diversity of the stories we were presented with – all of which collectively did much to challenge the notion of the African and diaspora experience, and its portrayal in fiction, as being one homogeneous whole.

“These brilliant and surprising stories are beautifully crafted, yet they are all completely different from one another. From satire and biting humour, to fiction based on non-fiction, with themes spanning political shenanigans, outcast communities, superstition and social status, loss, and enduring love. Each of these shortlisted stories speak eloquently to the human condition, and to what it is to be an African, or person of African descent, at the start of the second decade of the 21st century.

“Together, this year’s shortlisted stories signal that African literature is in robust health, and, as demonstrated by the titles alone, never predictable.”

Judging this year’s prize alongside Olumuyiwa Tharp, is South African broadcast journalist, Audrey Brown; Irish-Nigerian poet and playwright, Gabriel Gbadamosi; Ethiopian-born nonfiction editor and policy adviser at the Dutch Council for Culture in the Netherlands, Ebissé Wakjira-Rouw; and Kenyan based journalist, James Murua.

The AKO Caine Prize has had to postpone this year’s annual award ceremony, but hopes to announce the winner of this year’s £10,000 prize before December. Each shortlisted writer will also receive £500.

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