Monday, January 25, 2016

judging panel for the Caine Prize for African Writing 2016 announced

The five-member judging panel of the £10,000 Caine Prize for African Writing 2016  was announced today in London. The panel, comprising four women and one man, is chaired by the distinguished author and broadcaster Delia Jarrett-Macauley. She is joined by the acclaimed film, television and voice actor, Adjoa Andoh; the writer and founding member of the Nairobi based writers’ collective, Storymoja, and founder of the Storymoja Festival, Muthoni Garland; Associate Professor and Director of African American Studies at Georgetown University, Washington DC, Dr Robert J Patterson; and South African writer, and 2006 Caine Prize winner, Mary Watson.

 Delia Jarrett-Macauley

The Caine Prize has been awarded annually since 2000 for a short story of 3,000 to 10,000 words by an African writer published in English. An 'African writer’ is defined as someone who was born in Africa, or who is a national of an African country, or who has a parent who is African by birth or nationality.

Announcing the judging panel, Delia Jarrett-Macauley, said: “I'm delighted to be chairing the 2016 Caine Prize judging panel. 2015 was an impressive year for the Caine Prize, with record entries, a excellent shortlist and marvellous winner. I look forward to joining my fellow judges to read some equally impressive stories this year.”

The deadline for the submission of stories for this year's prize is 31 January. Last year a record 153 qualifying stories were submitted to the judges, from 17 African countries. The judges will meet in April to decide on this year’s shortlisted stories, which will be announced shortly thereafter. In addition to the winner's £10,000 prize, £500 will be awarded to each shortlisted writer. The winning story will be announced at a dinner at the Bodleian Library in Oxford on Monday 4 July 2016.

The judges:

Delia Jarrett-Macauley (DMS, Ph.D., FRSA, Chair of the Judges, is an accomplished writer, academic and broadcaster with a career spanning over 25 years. Her impressive body of work is held in high regard both nationally and internationally. Delia is also a member of the Caine Prize Council and served as a judge in 2007. She is the author of the literary biography The life of Una Marson 1905-1965, and of the novel Moses, Citizen and Me, which won the Orwell Prize in 2006.


Muthoni Garland

Muthoni Garland has published twenty books for children, two novellas for adults, and several stories published in literary journals and in the anthology, 'Helicopter Beetles,' which is available on Amazon as an e book. She is also a storyteller and has appeared on stage in several countries. Muthoni is a founder member of the writer's collective, Storymoja, which aggressively preaches the gospel of reading for pleasure. Storymoja runs several projects promoting reading among children, including the bi-annual National Read Aloud, which in 2015, broke the world record of people reading from the same text on the same day at the same time. Storymoja also organises the Storymoja Festival in Nairobi.

Robert J. Patterson

Robert J. Patterson is an associate professor of African American studies and English and director of the African American Studies Program at Georgetown University. He is the author of Exodus Politics: Civil Rights and Leadership in African American Literature and Culture (University of Virginia Press 2013), and co-editor of The Psychic Hold of Slavery: Legacies in American Culture (Rutgers University Press 2016). His work appears in South Atlantic Quarterly, Black Camera, Religion and Literature, The Cambridge Companion to African American Women's Writing, the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, and the Cambridge Companion to Civil Rights Literature. He also co-guest-edited a special edition of South Atlantic Quarterly on "Black Literature, Black Leadership." Extending his scholarly interests in the post-civil rights era, black popular culture, and the politics of race and gender, Patterson has begun work on a second book, It's Just Another Sad Love Song: R and B Music and the Politics of Race.

Mary Watson

Mary Watson is the author of Moss (2004), The Cutting Room (2013) and several short stories in anthologies. She won the Caine Prize in 2006 for her story "Jungfrau". A lapsed academic, Mary did an MA in Creative Writing under the mentorship of André Brink, before completing a doctorate in Film Studies. Born in Cape Town, she currently lives in Ireland. She was a finalist for the Rolex Mentor/Protégé Initiative in 2012, and in 2014 she was included in the Hay Festival's Africa39 list of promising writers under forty.

 Adjoa Andoh

Adjoa Andoh is a highly acclaimed and well-established actress of film, television, radio and theatre and is of Ghanaian decent. In 2009, she appeared in the Clint Eastwood movie Invictus as Nelson Mandela's Chief of Staff. She is also a familiar face on British television and has appeared on Doctor Who as Francine Jones and also had a long standing role as Colette Griffiths in Casualty. She is known on the UK stage for lead roles at the RSC, the National Theatre, the Royal Court Theatre and the Almeida Theatre. Andoh is the voice of Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency; she won "Audio Book of the Year" for Tea Time for the Traditionally Built. She has already judged several prizes including the Bafta TV panel, the Carlton Hobbs/ Norman Beaton BBC radio Award, the Susan Blackburn Award, and the Alfred Fagon Award.


The five shortlisted stories, alongside stories written at the Caine Prize workshop - the 2016 workshop is to be held in Zambia in March - are published annually by New Internationalist (UK), Jacana Media (South Africa), Lantern Books (United States), Kwani? (Kenya), Sub-Saharan Publishers (Ghana), FEMRITE (Uganda), Bookworld Publishers (Zambia), Langaa Research and Publishing (Cameroon) and ‘amaBooks (Zimbabwe). Books are available from the publishers or from the Africa Book Centre, African Books Collective or Amazon.

“The Sack” by Namwali Serpell, the first-ever Zambian Caine prizewinner, won last year's prize, and is included in the Caine Prize 2015 anthology, Lusaka Punk.  Chair of the 2015 Caine Prize judges Zoë Wicomb praised the story, when it won, saying, “From a very strong shortlist we have picked an extraordinary story about the aftermath of revolution with its liberatory promises shattered. It makes demands on the reader and challenges conventions of the genre. It yields fresh meaning with every reading. Formally innovative, stylistically stunning, haunting and enigmatic in its effects. ‘The Sack’ is a truly luminous winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing.”

The Caine Prize 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. It is supported by The Oppenheimer Memorial Trust, The Miles Morland Foundation, The Carnegie Corporation, the Booker Prize Foundation, Sigrid Rausing and Eric Abraham, Prudential Plc, The Beit Trust, CSL Stockbrokers, the Morel Trust, The British Council, The Wyfold Charitable Trust, the Royal Over-Seas League, Commonwealth Writers, an initiative of the Commonwealth Foundation, Adam and Victoria Freudenheim, John and Judy Niepold, Arindam Bhattacherjee and other generous donors. 

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