NoViolet Bulawayo, winner of the Caine Prize in 2011, has become the first black African woman ever to be shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Her shortlisted novel, ‘We Need New Names’, opens with the short story ‘Hitting Budapest,’ that won her the Caine Prize in 2011. It has shown once more the power African literature can have on a world stage and the importance of promoting African writers to a wide audience.
Applications for the 2014 Caine Prize are now open – we are looking for the next NoViolet Bulawayo! For the first time the Caine Prize will award £500 to each shortlisted writer. Dr Lizzy Attree, the Prize’s Administrator stated that “this latest development reflects the Caine Prize’s commitment to recognising the skills and artistry required to produce great fiction and rewarding writers appropriately for their work.” Every shortlisted story is also published in the annual Caine Prize anthology alongside twelve stories written at the annual workshop held in Africa.
‘We Need New Names’ revisits the gang of Darling, Bastard, Chipo, Godknows, Stina and Sbho first introduced in ‘Hitting Budapest’, and continues their adventure to seek ‘The American Dream’ from the streets of Paradise, Zimbabwe, to “Destroyedmichygen” – or Detroit, Michigan as we know it. This debut novel fulfils the 2011 Chair of Judges, Hisham Matar’s assessment that “NoViolet Bulawayo is certainly a writer who takes a delight in language.” She is living proof of the success of the Caine Prize which promotes and rewards African writers globally.
The winner of this year’s Caine Prize was announced as Tope Folarin in July. Tope proved another worthy winner with his short story entitled ‘Miracle’, which will form part of his forthcoming novel ‘The Proximity of Distance’.
The story takes us to a Texan evangelical Nigerian church, where the congregation have gathered to witness the healing power of a blind pastor-prophet. The 2013 Chair of Judges, Gus Casely-Hayford described Tope’s ‘Miracle’ as “another superb Caine Prize winner – a delightful and beautifully paced narrative that is exquisitely observed and utterly compelling”.
The fifteenth winner of the £10,000 Caine Prize will receive their award at a dinner in the Bodleian Library in Oxford on 14 July 2014 and be given the opportunity to take up a month’s residence at Georgetown University, as a Writer-in-Residence at the Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice. They will also be invited to take part in the Open Book Festival in Cape Town in September.
If you think you have what it takes to follow in NoViolet and Tope’s footsteps, then write, publish and send us your story now. The deadline for applications each year is 31 January.
For full details of the rules and application process please visit the Rules page.