Book Size: 5.25" x 8"

Pages: 296

Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781566560160

Imprint: Interlink Books

Edition: 1

Release date: 09/15/16


The Daily Assortment of Astonishing Things and Other Stories

The Caine Prize for African Writing 2016


$ 16.95

“Africa’s most important literary award.” — International Herald Tribune

About this book

The leading African literary award, known as the African Booker, named after the Booker Prize founder, Michael Caine. 

Now entering its seventeenth 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 2016 shortlisted stories, along with stories written at the 2016 Caine Prize Writers' Workshop that took place in Zambia. The collection showcases young writers who went on to publish successful novels, for instance: Leila Aboulela, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Sefi Atta, Brian Chikwava and Helon Habila.

The shortlisted writers include Abdul Adan (Somalia/Kenya), Lesley Nneka Arimah (Nigeria), Tope Folarin (Nigeria), Bongani Kona (Zimbabwe), and Lidudumalingani (South Africa). Twelve other promising writers are also included in the anthology: 2015 Caine Prize winner, Namwali Serpell (Zambia), NoViolet Bulawayo (Zimbabwe), Chilufya Chilangwa (Zambia), Tope Folarin (Nigeria), Elnathan John (Nigeria), Billy Kahora (Kenya), Bwanga Kapumpa (Zambia), FT Kola (South Africa), Kafula Mwila (Zambia), Masande Ntshanga (South Africa), Timwa Lipenga (Malawi), and Okwiri Oduor (Kenya).



“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

“The creators of Africa’s best-known literary prize collect another stunning assortment of stories from around the continent. The stories include domestic dramas, heart-wrenching family narratives, and the absurd realms of the mathematicians behind the formulas for just about everything on earth- including grief. These stories highlight some of Africa’s best emerging writers. Some, like NoViolet Bulawayo (We Need New Names), have already found global success; others, such as Lesley Nneka Arimah, have yet to publish a full-length book. As with most anthologies, some of the pieces don’t strike as loud a chord, but, for the most part, the breadth of writing and storytelling styles is refreshing and consistently engaging. Standouts include Okwiri Oduor’s precisely written ‘The Daily Assortment of Astonishing Things,’ which won the prize, and Arimah’s ‘What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky.’ For those interested in world literature, this is a great way to get a foothold in the expanse of excellent African writing, and fans of literature in general will find this a choice collection of well-crafted and consistently surprising stories.” — Publishers Weekly

“New voices are gathered in a collection that might be thought of as the African rejoinder to the annual Pushcart series.Taxes may be a wobbly proposition in emergent regimes, but death is certain everywhere. In one of the hallmark pieces in this collection, South African writer Bongani Kona addresses a family member now on the dais at a funeral requiem: ‘Where does it begin,’ he writes, ‘the story of how you came to lie here in your dark blue suit?’ In a few pages, Kona distills the love and damage shared by cousins, the desperation of some trying to will the suicidal dead back to life or, at the very least, to conjure a few untroubled memories. Just so, Zambian writer Namwali Serpell creates a world inhabited by two people thrown into accidental contact in what appears to be at one moment a workaday errand, at another an unfolding scam; as the story widens and the characters deepen, it acquires a lovely gravity (‘a window boomed with an airy sound- a questioning sound, like the sceptical hmmm?s of gossiping women’). This gathering of stories represents the five-entry shortlist of the Caine Prize, an annual award to the African writer of the best short story in English, as well as a dozen stories from the prize workshop. The title story is set in Kenya, and it is a work of compressed wonder in the hands of its author, Okwiri Oduor, who imagines a young boy so enthralled by a radio trivia program that he swallows its nonsense whole: ‘One day, Dudu cut off his eyelashes with paper scissors. He had heard”that a person could not walk in a straight line if all their lashes were gone.’ Driven to distraction, his mother disappears, taking his transistor radio with her a crisis around which a telling psychological moment builds. The least successful stories in the collection take slices of life that are too thin, but all show promise, and all are very much worth reading.” — Kirkus Reviews

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