May 25, 2024
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Nigeria’s Unigwe to chair Caine Prize jury for African Writing 2024

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  • April 18, 2024
  • 5 min read
Nigeria’s Unigwe to chair Caine Prize jury for African Writing 2024

By Editor

NIGERIA’S Prof. Chika Unigwe will chair the Caine Prize for African Writing 2024 jury. This was announced on Wednesday, April 17, 2024. Other jury members are Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu, Julianknxx, Tumi Molekane, and Ayesha Harruna Attah.

The Caine Prize for African Writing is awarded annually to an African writer published in English for an outstanding short story since the year 2000. It has recognised some of the most famous writers working today like Leila Aboulela, Helon Habila, Yvonne Adhiambo Owour, Helon Habila, and many more. In recent times, winners have been Mame Bougouma Diene and Woppa Diallo (2023), Idza Luhumyo (2022), Meron Hadero (2021), Irenosen Okojie (2020), Lesley Nneka Arimah (2019), Makena Onjerika (2018), Bushra al-Fadil (2017), Lidudumalingani Mqombothi (2016), and Namwali Serpell (2015).

The jury for 2024 to be chaired by Unigwe was announced by the award organisers today. Unigwe is as a creative writing professor at Georgia State College and University in Milledgeville, Georgia. She is a prolific writer of both fiction and nonfiction, whose works have been translated into several languages. Her notable works include the award-winning novel On Black Sisters’ Street and the short-story collection Better Never Than Late. Her latest novel, The Middle Daughter, is published by Canongate Books.

Commenting on this year’s panel, Unigwe, said: “I am deeply honoured to be judging this year’s Caine Prize alongside an impressively distinguished group of creatives, some of whom I have admired for years. African writing is in a good place, and so we are certain that we will be seeing stories we will want to read, re-read, and then tell everyone else to go read.”

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Prof. Chika Unigwe

Interim Director of the Prize, Vimbai Shire said: “Thinking ahead to the Caine Prize shortlist, it’s the relentless pursuit of quality and the commitment to elevating storytelling to its highest level that ignites my enthusiasm and I’m delighted by the composition and focus of this year’s panel.

Ndlovu is a Zimbabwean writer, scholar, and filmmaker. She is the author of critically-acclaimed and award-winning novels, The Theory of Flight (2018), The History of Man (2020) and The Quality of Mercy (2022) published in South Africa by Penguin Random House and in North America by Catalyst Press. Her fourth novel, The Creation of Half-Broken People, will be published by Picador Africa and House of Anansi in 2024 and 2025, respectively. Ndlovu holds a PhD in Modern Thought and Literature from Stanford University. She has an MA in African Studies and an MFA in Film from Ohio University. Her short film, Graffiti, won several awards including the Silver Dhow at the Zanzibar International Film Festival. She received her BFA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College. She is a 2018 Morland Scholar and a 2022 recipient of the Windham-Campbell Prize.

Julianknxx, is a Sierra Leonean poet, artist, and filmmaker based in London, UK. His work has been shown at galleries and museums worldwide, with his acclaimed first institutional solo show ‘Chorus In Rememory of Flight’ at the Barbican, London (2023), called ‘transcendent and poignant’ by the Evening Standard. Shortlisted for the Jarman Award in 2023, his recent group shows include ‘A World in Common’ at Tate Modern, London (2023), ‘Rites of Passage’ at Gagosian, London (2023) and ‘To Be Held’ at Carl Freedman Gallery, Margate (2023). Previous participations include Whitechapel Gallery Open, London (2022); Nocturnal Creatures at Whitechapel Gallery (2021), Lux at 180 The Strand, London (2021) and The View from There at Sadie Coles HQ, London (2021)

Molekane, aka Stogie T, is a South African hip-hop artist, bold and unconventional lyricist, pragmatic thinker, and observer. Known for writing in caveats, his work strikes a delicate balance between different worlds and forms a nuanced narrative of the country and continent as a whole. His works both critique power and its innate tendency to corrupt, while also dissecting the nightmares of Johannesburg’s underworld with striking imagery. A contemporary voice of the people and enigmatic storyteller, Molekane has appeared on Sway In The Morning in 2018, among other shows. His songs include ‘Sub City’ from his self-titled 2016 album and ‘Broke People’ from 2015’s Return of the King.

Attah is the author of five novels, including the Commonwealth Prize-nominated Harmattan Rain, William Saroyan Prize finalist The Hundred Wells of Salaga and The Deep Blue Between. She was educated at Mount Holyoke College, Columbia University, and New York University. She is the 2023-2024 Literature Protégée for the Rolex Mentor & Protégé Arts Initiative and is being mentored by Bernardine Evaristo. Attah currently lives in Senegal.

The judges will meet in person in September to select a winner from the five shortlisted authors and announce the winner in an award ceremony to be held in London in September 2024. Each writer shortlisted for the Caine Prize will be awarded £500, and the winner will receive a £10,000 prize. If a work in translation is chosen as the winning story, the prize will be shared between the author and the translator.

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