Nigerians in Nigeria and in diaspora, continue to excel in various endeavours through solo efforts, bringing accolades to the beleaguered country. This is in sharp contrast to the failure of public leadership and governance at home.
The latest distinguished Nigerian is no other person than E C Osondu, who last night won the £10,000 2009 Caine Prize for African Writing, the 10th year of the prize.
His story, “Waiting”, from the October 2008 issue of Guernicamag.com, was pronounced “powerfully written with not an ounce of fat on it—and deeply moving” by chair of judges, New Statesman chief sub-editor Nana Yaa Mensah at the awards ceremony held at the Bodleian Library in Oxford, United Kingdom, yesterday
Osundu also wins the opportunity of taking up a month’s residence at Georgetown University, Washington DC, as a “Caine Prize/Georgetown University Writer-in-Residence”. The award will cover all travel and living expenses.The Caine Prize, awarded annually for a short story by an African writer published in English, is named after the late Sir Michael Caine, former chairman of Booker plc.
Nigeria’s Ben Okri won the coveted prize in 2000.
This year, 122 entries from 12 African countries were received for the Caine prize -widely known as the ‘African Booker’ and regarded as Africa’s leading literary award.
Osondu was previously shortlisted for the award in 2007, for his story “Jimmy Carter’s Eyes”, which was anthologised in that year’s Caine Prize collection, Jambula Tree and Other Stories.
This year’s shortlist also included: Mamle Kabu (Ghana) “The End of Skill” from Dreams, Miracles and Jazz, published by Picador Africa, Johannesburg 2008; Parselelo Kantai (Kenya) “You Wreck Her” from the St Petersburg Review, NY 2008; Alistair Morgan (South Africa) “Icebergs” from The Paris Review no 183, NY 2008; Mukoma wa Ngugi (Kenya) “How Kamau wa Mwangi Escaped into Exile” from Wasafiri No54, Summer 2008, London.
Two other entries were highly commended: “Devils at the Door” by Sierra Leone’s Brian James, and Ghanaian writer Nii Parkes’ “Socks Ball”.
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