Who will decide the 2015 winner of the Caine Prize? The announcement was made last week in Nigeria during the Ake Arts and Books Festival

By April 2015, the group of five men and women appointed as judges will decide on top five stories.

The panel of judges is a nicely diverse group made up of three novelists, a journalist/radio personality, and a literature professor. Their national affiliation is also pretty diverse. We have a South African, a Zimbabwean, A British Sudanese, and an Indian.

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For those who don’t know, Caine Prize for African Writing “is awarded for a short story by an African writer published in English.” It’s also the most highly-anticipated African literary prize.

Every spring, the release of the shortlisted stories is followed by a massive online buzz called the blogathon—a series of story reviews posted on blogs across the African online community, lasting for many weeks until the winning story is announced.

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The legitimacy of the Caine Prize has come under attack in recent times.  But no matter what critics say, African readers and writers care about the prize. A whooping 140 stories were submitted from 17 African countries last year.

Anyway, here’s what we know about each of the judges. Let us know what you think.

Panel Chair:  Zoë Wicomb

Portrait - ZoeWicomb

 

Zoë Wicomb was born in South Africa and lives in Glasgow, Scotland.  Though Wicomb left South Africa for England as a young woman, her fiction demonstrates an ongoing preoccupation with and deep insight into apartheid and its legacies.  In prose hailed by Toni Morrison as “seductive, brilliant, and precious,” Wicomb’s first book of stories You Can’t Get Lost in Cape Town (1987) articulates the experience of mixed-race (“coloured”) South Africans under apartheid.  In her two subsequent novels, David’s Story (2000) andPlaying in the Light (2006), and her most recent story collection, The One that Got Away(2008), Wicomb widens her focus to explore the persistent influence of race and gender in shaping South African life in a post-apartheid society and an increasingly interconnected world.  Wicomb is an emeritus professor at the University of Strathclyde.  {Her lates novel, October, was published earlier this year in March.} — windhamcampbell.org

 

Zeinab Badawi

NPG x128292; Zeinab Mohammed-Khair Badawi by Cinnamon Heathcote-Drury

Zeinab was born in the Sudan but moved to London at the age of two… [She] has extensive experience in television and radio, working on a range of programmes. She is one of the best known broadcast journalists working in the field today…Her current work includes interviewing on Hard Talk for BBC, which features some of the best known personalities in the world. Zeinab also presents the World Debates and Intelligence Squared Debates on the BBC. Feature on both radio and television. — Royal Africa Society

 

Neel Mukherjee

Neel Mukherjee

Neel Mukherjee was born in Calcutta. His first novel, A Life Apart (2010), won the Vodafone-Crossword Award in India, the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain Award for best fiction, and was shortlisted for the inaugural DSC Prize for South Asian Literature. The Lives of Others is his second novel. He lives in London. {Mukherjee’s second novel made the 2014 Man Booker shortlist} — Man Booker Prize
 

Cóilín Parsons

Portrait - Cóilín Parsons

Cóilín’s research interests include Irish literature, global modernism, theories of geography and space, cartography, and postcolonial literature and theory. He is also interested in archival research in literature, and theories and histories of colonial archives. He has published on Irish, South African, and Indian literature and culture. Before coming to Georgetown he taught at Columbia University and the University of Cape Town . — George Town English Dept. Website

 

Brian Chikwava

Portrait - Brian Chikwava

Brian Chikwava’s short story “Seventh Street Alchemy” was awarded the 2004 Caine Prize for African Writing and Chikwava became the first Zimbabwean to do so.[1] He has been a Charles Pick fellow at the University of East Anglia, and lives in London. He continues to write in England and put out an album titled Jacaranda Skits. His first novel [and only] Harare North was published in 2009 through Jonathan Cape. — Wikipedia

 

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Image Credit:

Wicomb : RAS Events

Badawi: www.npg.org

Mukherjee: Guardian

Chikwava: University Post

Coilin: George Town English Dept