Caine Prize 2011 judging panel announced [update added]
The award-winning Libyan novelist Hisham Matar has been appointed as chair of the panel of judges for this year's Caine Prize for African Writing, it was anounced today. Joining him are Granta deputy editor Ellah Allfrey, Georgetown University Professor of English literature Henry Schwarz, publisher, film and travel writer Vicky Unwin, and the award-winning author Aminatta Forna. Update: On 11 February it was announced that David Gewanter - Georgetown University Professor and poet - was joining in the panel. He replaces Henry Schwarz.
Matar was previously a judge of the prize in 2008. He was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for his debut novel In the Country of Men (2006), which won several literary prizes. His second novel Anatomy of a Disappearance is to be published by Penguin imprint Viking in the UK on 3 March.
This year 126 qualifying stories have been submitted to the judges from 17 African countries. The judges will meet in early May to decide on the shortlisted stories, which will be announced shortly thereafter. The winning story will be announced at a dinner at the Bodleian Library in Oxford on Monday 11 July.
Last year the Caine Prize, described as Africa’s leading literary award, was won by Sierra Leonean writer Olufemi Terry , pictured below at the Caine Prize award ceremony held in the Bodleian Library's Divinity School, Oxford University. Chair of judges Fiammetta Rocco said at the time “ambitious, brave and hugely imaginative, Olufemi Terry’s ‘Stickfighting Days’ presents a heroic culture that is Homeric in its scale and conception. The execution of this story is so tight and the presentation so cinematic, it confirms Olufemi Terry as a talent with an enormous future.”
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, and whose work has reflected that cultural background.
The African winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Wole Soyinka, Nadine Gordimer and J M Coetzee, are Patrons of The Caine Prize, as is Chinua Achebe, winner of the Man Booker International Prize. Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne is President of the Council and Jonathan Taylor is the Chairman.