The Goddess of Mtwara and Other Stories
The Caine Prize for African Writing 2017
edited by the Caine Prize Committee and Chris Brazier
published 2017 • 5 ¼” x 8” • 272 pages
ISBN 9781566560344 • paperback • $16.95 •
“The Caine Prize is regarded as ‘Africa’s leading literary award.’ The eighteenth Caine Prize was selected from 148 entries from 22 African countries. This collection highlights the five short listers, with 11 additional stories chosen from the Caine Prize workshop, a 12-day retreat for new and established writers held, this year, in Tanzania. Sudan’s Bushra al-Fadil won the 2017 Caine Prize with ‘The Story of the Girl Whose Birds Flew Away,’ an atmospheric meditation on elusive (and illusive) connections amid chaos. Al-Fadil’s co–short listers were Lesley Nneka Arimah’s ‘Who Will Greet You at Home,’ which introduces a baby made of human hair; Chikodili Emelumadu’s ‘Bush Baby,’ featuring a man terrorized by his careless greed; Arinze Ifeakandu’s ‘God’s Children Are Little Broken Things,’ about a student’s homosexual awakening (and suppression); and Magogodi oaMphela Makhene’s ‘The Virus,’ about the price of survival after global destruction. Of the latter 11, Esther Karim Mngodo’s titular ‘The Goddess of Mtwara’ is a love story that goes awry. As laudable a collection this is as both introduction and celebration of contemporary African writing, further contextual support, such as a glossary for non-English words, would have been enlightening and appreciated. Still, this is an admirable and essential gateway to current African fiction.”
THE LEADING AFRICAN LITERARY AWARD, KNOWN AS THE AFRICAN BOOKER, NAMED AFTER THE BOOKER PRIZE FOUNDER, MICHAEL CAINE
Now entering its eighteenth year, the Caine Prize for African Writing is Africa’s leading literary prize, and is awarded to a short story by an African writer published in English, whether in Africa or elsewhere. This collection brings together seventeen short stories—the five 2017 shortlisted stories, along with stories written at the 2017 Caine Prize Writers’ Workshop that took place in Tanzania.
The collection showcases young writers who go on to publish successful novels, for instance: Leila Aboulela, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Sefi Atta, Brian Chikwava and Helon Habila.
The shortlisted writers include:
• God’s Children are Little Broken Things by Arinze Ifeakandu (Nigeria) • The Story of the Girl Whose Birds Flew Away by Bushra al-Fadil (Sudan), translated by Max Shmookler • Bush Baby by Chikodili Emelumadu (Nigeria) • Who Will Greet You at Home by Lesley Nneka Arimah (Nigeria) • The Virus by Magogodi oa Mphela Makhene (South Africa)
The collection also includes stories written by the following authors at the workshop that took place in Tanzania: Last year’s winner, Lidudumalingani (South Africa), Abdul Adan (Somalia/Kenya), Lesley Nneka Arimah (Nigeria) Tendai Huchu (Zimbabwe), Cheryl Ntumy (Botswana/Ghana), Daniel Rafiki (Rwanda), Darla Rudakubana (Rwanda), Agazit Abate (Ethiopia).
Praise for the Caine Prize for African Writing
“Africa’s most important literary award.”
—International Herald Tribune
“Entertaining… Deserves to be widely read.”
—Sunday Independent, South Africa
“It provokes and challenges.”
—Harare News, Zimbabwe
“Dazzling and splendidly diverse”
—The Times, UK
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