From over one hundred entries from twelve African countries, Nigerian writer EC Osondu emerged as winner of the tenth annual Caine Prize for African Writing. Osondu received the ten-thousand pound prize (approximately sixteen thousand dollars) for his story "Waiting" from the online magazine Guernica (October 2008). The award, given for a short story by an African writer published in English, was announced last Monday at the Bodleian Library in Oxford.
Nana Yaa Mensah, chair of the judges, called Osondu’s story "a tour de force describing, from a child’s point of view, the dislocating experience of being a displaced person. It is powerfully written with not an ounce of fat on it—and deeply moving."
Stories published in journals and anthologies as many as five years prior to the deadline are considered for each year's prize. This year's finalists were:
Mamle Kabu of Ghana for "The End of Skill” from Dreams, Miracles and Jazz (Picador Africa, 2008)
Parselelo Kantai of Kenya for “You Wreck Her” from St. Petersburg Review (2008)
Alistair Morgan of South Africa for “Icebergs” from Paris Review (Winter 2007)
Mukoma wa Ngugi of Kenya for “How Kamau wa Mwangi Escaped into Exile” from Wasafiri (Summer 2008)
Osondu, who once worked as an advertising copywriter and went on to receive his MFA from Syracuse University, now teaches at Providence College in Rhode Island. As part of the award, Osondu will spend a month in residence at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.