Now entering its sixteenth 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 eighteen short stories- the five 2015 shortlisted stories, along with stories written at the 2015 Caine Prize Writers' Workshop that took place in Ghana.
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 Segun Afolabi (Nigeria), Caine Prize winner in 2005; Elnathan John (Nigeria), who was shortlisted in 2013; F. T. Kola (South Africa); Masande Ntshanga (South Africa); and Namwali Serpell (Zambia), who was shortlisted in 2010. The 2015 Caine Prize workshop participants included Diane Awerbuck (South Africa) and Efemia Chela (Zambia/Ghana) who were shortlisted for the 2014 prize, Onipede Hollist (Sierra Leona) who was shortlisted in 2013, and nine other promising writers: Dalle Abraham (Kenya), Nkiacha Atemnkeng (Cameroon), Akwaeke Emezi (Nigeria), Timothy Kiprop Kimutai (Kenya), Jonathan Mbuna (Malawi), and Jonathan Dotse, Jemila Abdulai, Aisha Nelson and Nana Nyarko Boateng (Ghana).
Chair of judges, Zoë Wicomb described the shortlist as, "an exciting crop of well-crafted stories.- Unforgettable characters, drawn with insight and humour, inhabit works ranging from classical story structures to a haunting, enigmatic narrative that challenges the conventions of the genre."
She added, "Understatement and the unspoken prevail: hints of an orphan's identity bring poignant understanding of his world; the reader is slowly and expertly guided to awareness of a narrator's blindness; there is delicate allusion to homosexual love; a disfigured human body is encountered in relation to adolescent escapades; a nameless wife's insecurities barely mask her understanding of injustice; and, we are given a flash of insight into dark passions that rise out of a surreal resistance culture. Above all, these stories speak of the pleasure of reading fiction."