Nigeria’s Tope Folarin has won the 2013 Caine Prize for African Writing, described as Africa’s leading literary award, for his short story entitled ‘Miracle’ from Transition, Issue 109 (Bloomington, 2012).
The Chair of Judges, Gus Casely-Hayford, announced Tope Folarin as the winner of the £10,000 prize at a dinner held this evening (Monday, 8 July) at the Bodleian Library in Oxford.
‘Miracle’ is a story set in Texas in an evangelical Nigerian church where the congregation has gathered to witness the healing powers of a blind pastor-prophet. Religion and the gullibility of those caught in the deceit that sometimes comes with faith rise to the surface as a young boy volunteers to be healed and begins to believe in miracles.
Gus Casely-Hayford praised the story, saying: “Tope Folarin’s ‘Miracle’ is another superb Caine Prize winner – a delightful and beautifully paced narrative, that is exquisitely observed and utterly compelling”.
Tope Folarin is the recipient of writing fellowships from the Institute for Policy Studies and Callaloo, and he serves on the board of the Hurston/Wright Foundation. Tope was educated at Morehouse College, and the University of Oxford, where he earned two Master’s degrees as a Rhodes Scholar. He lives and works in Washington, DC.
The 2013 shortlist comprises:
- Elnathan John (Nigeria) ‘Bayan Layi’ from Per Contra, Issue 25 (USA, 2012)
Read Bayan Layi
- Tope Folarin (Nigeria) ‘Miracle’ from Transition, Issue 109 (Bloomington, 2012)
- Pede Hollist (Sierra Leone) ‘Foreign Aid’ from Journal of Progressive Human Services, Vol. 23.3 (Philadelphia, 2012)
Read Foreign Aid
- Abubakar Adam Ibrahim (Nigeria) ‘The Whispering Trees’ from The Whispering Trees, published by Parrésia Publishers (Lagos, 2012)
Read The Whispering Tree
- Chinelo Okparanta (Nigeria) ‘America’ from Granta, Issue 118 (London, 2012)
The winner of the £10,000 Caine Prize will 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 and will be invited to take part in the Open Book Festival in Cape Town in September.
Last year the Caine Prize was won by Nigerian writer Rotimi Babatunde. He recently co-authored Feast, a Royal Court/Young Vic co-production which ran at the Young Vic as part of World Stages for a World City.
Sir Michael Caine
The Prize is named in celebration of the late Sir Michael Caine, former Chairman of Booker plc, who was Chairman of the ‘Africa 95’ arts festival in Europe and Africa in 1995 and for nearly 25 years Chairman of the Booker Prize management committee.
Shortly before he died, Sir Michael Caine was working on the idea of a prize to encourage the growing recognition of the worth of African writing in English, its richness and diversity, by bringing it to a wider audience. His friends and colleagues decided to carry this idea forward and establish a prize of £10,000 to be awarded annually in his memory.
As he intended, the Caine Prize is open to writers from anywhere in Africa for work published in English. Its focus is on the short story, reflecting the contemporary development of the African story-telling tradition
You can read the winnning entry MIRACLE (http://www.caineprize.com/pdf/2013_Folarin.pdf) here