Lidudumalingani has just been announced winner of the 2016 Caine Prize for African Writing for his short story titled “Memories We Lost.” The announcement was made at the award ceremony, which took place this evening at the Bodleian Library in Oxford.
“‘Memories We Lost’ tells the emotionally charged story of a girl who acts as protector of her sister, whose serious mental-health problems cause consternation in a South African village. Her situation deteriorates as her care is entrusted to Nkunzi, a local man who employs traditional techniques to rid people of their demons.”
Delia Jarrett-Macauley who chaired the panel of judges was struck by the fact that Lidudumalingani’s story explores schizophrenia within a traditional African context. Beyond the theme, however, Jarrett-Macauley sees the story as “multi-layered” and “gracefully narrated.”
When renowned Nigerian critic Ikhide Ikheloa reviewed the story a few weeks ago, he praised Lidudumalingani for experimenting with form in such a way that the story “blurs the boundary between lunacy and creativity.” “Memories We Lost,” predicts Ikheloa, places Lidudumalingani “smack in the klieg lights of literary history.” [read review here.]
Lidudumalingani is being awarded for his writing, but he is also an accomplished filmmaker and photographer. Some of his work in these other creative fields are available on his beautiful Instagram page @lidudumalingani, which we profiled weeks ago. [Read here]. The multi-talented artist was born in Zikhovane, a village in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa.
The Caine Prize for African Writing, first awarded in 2000, comes with £10,000 and is one of the most prestigious and coveted honors for African writing. This edition of the Caine Prize reportedly had a record-breaking number of entries. Lidudumalingani emerges winner in a closely-contested race that included Lesley Nneka Arimah, Tope Folarin, Abdul Adan, and Bongani Kona, each of whom offered innovative, beautifully crafted, and experimental stories. The formal complexities and experimental leanings of each of the shortlisted stories is proof of the exciting path on which contemporary African fiction is set.
This year’s distinguished panel of judges included Delia Jarrett-Macauley, Adjoa Andoh, Muthoni Garland, Dr Robert J Patterson and Mary Watson.
Congrats to Lidudumalingani! It’s a well-deserved win. We can’t imagine how happy he is this very moment. Do join us in celebrating a creative soul whose work and artistic practice have greatly inspired us these past few weeks. We greatly anticipate his future contributions to the literary world.
As usual, kudos to the Caine folks for introducing us to these amazing writers.
For those of you who may be coming here for the first time, Brittle Paper has followed the Caine journey very closely this year, with interviews of each shortlisted writer and reviews of all the wonderful stories.
Read our review of Lidudumalingani’s story.
Read our interview with him, in which he talks about what it’s like being a writer, a filmmaker, and photographer.
See you all next year!