Back to Index
Winner of the Caine prize for African writing announced
July 22, 2004
Brian Chikwava, from
Zimbabwe, has won the fifth Caine Prize for African Writing for ‘Seventh
Street Alchemy’ from Writing Still, Weaver
Press, Harare 2003. The result was announced by the Chair of the judges,
Alvaro Ribeiro, at a dinner held this evening (Monday, 19 July) in the
Bodleian Library in Oxford. Brian is the first winner of the Prize from
"A very strong narrative in which Brian Chikwava of Zimbabwe claims the
English language as his own, and English with African characteristics,"
said Alvaro Ribeiro. "A triumph for the long tradition of Zimbabwe writing
in the face of Zimbabwe’s uncertain future!" Although from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s
second largest city, Brian Chikawava spent his formative years in Harare,
where at the popular artistes’ venue, The Book Café, he regularly
took part in poet evenings, public discussions and music performances.
It is here that he started experimenting with different genres of art
by collaborating with other young writers and musicians in an attempt
to create new ways of presenting the African experience.
Brian has recently relocated to London and is working on his first projects
outside Zimbabwe – Bubble Wrapping Artificial Shit, a novella that he
has just started writing, and Jacaranda Skits, a music album of his unique
and ‘whole-wheat’ sound that blends his writing abilities with southern
African township jazz, ska and blues.
Also on the shortlist were:
- Doreen Baingana
(Uganda) for ‘Hunger’ from the Sun Magazine, March 2003;
- Parselelo Kantai
(Kenya) for ‘The Story of Comrade Lemma and the Black Jerusalem Boys
Band’ from Kwani?, Nairobi 2003;
- Monica Arac de
Nyeko (Uganda) for ‘Strange Fruit’ from Cook Communication, online magazine
- Chika Unigwe (Nigeria)
for ‘The Secret’ from online literature magazine Open Wide.
year’s Prize was awarded to Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor from Kenya, for ‘Weight
of Whispers’ from Kwani?, Nairobi 2003. Yvonne is currently Executive
Director of the Zanzibar International Film Festival and has been named
‘Woman of the Year’ by Eve Magazine in Nairobi. Kenyan writer and journalist
Binyavanga Wainaina won the Prize in 2002 for ‘Discovering Home’, from
G21Net 2001. Wainaina has since gone on to establish Kwani?, Kenya’s only
literary magazine, from which both Yvonne’s story and one of this year’s
short listed stories were chosen.
Alvaro Ribeiro, this year’s Chair of the judges, was also a judge for
the first Caine Prize in 2000. Alvaro is Associate Professor of English
at Georgetown University, Washington DC, where he teaches courses on Shakespeare,
the Eighteenth Century and the Man Booker Prize. The other judges on this
year’s panel included Nigerian playwright Biyi Bandele; Bernice Rubens,
whose novels include ‘The Elected Member’ for which she won the 1970 Booker
Prize, ‘Our Father’, and most recently ‘Nine Lives’; Anna Umbima, broadcaster
and journalist; and Nana Wilson-Tagoe, Senior Lecturer in African Literature,
at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London.
Please credit www.kubatana.net if you make use of material from this website.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.