For the first time in the history of the Caine Prize its annual workshop will take place in Uganda this month and will see the launch of the Prize’s 2012 anthology, published by the Uganda Women Writers’ Association, FEMRITE, one of eight co-publishers of the Caine Prize anthologies.
Twelve writers from seven different African countries will convene at the Garuga Resort Beach Hotel for nine days (16 April – 25 April) to write, read and discuss work in progress and to learn from two experienced writers, Véronique Tadjo and Pam Nichols who will act as tutors and animateurs.
This year’s participants include last year’s winner, Rotimi Babatunde (Nigeria), three 2012 shortlisted writers; Billy Kahora (Kenya), Melissa Myambo (Zimbabwe) and Stanley Kenani (Malawi) and eight other promising writers; Michael Phoya (Malawi), Wazha Lopang (Botswana), Elnathan John (Nigeria), Abubakar Ibrahim (Nigeria) and Harriet Anena, Davina Kawuma, Lillian Aujo and Hellen Nyana from Uganda. During the workshop, the writers will be expected to write a short story for inclusion in the 2013 Caine Prize anthology, which will be published by New Internationalist on 1 July 2013 and subsequently by seven co-publishers in Africa. Each year the stories conceived at the workshops are automatically entered for the following year’s Prize.
The primary supporter of this year’s workshop is the DOEN Foundation. Supplementary funding is provided by the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust, the Beit Trust and Commonwealth Writers, the cultural initiative from the Commonwealth Foundation.
In collaboration with FEMRITE and The British Council, this year’s programme will incorporate a schools’ event on the afternoon of 23 April, at St Mary’s College, Kisubi. The Caine Prize Administrator, Dr Lizzy Attree said, “it is important that during the workshops we take the opportunity to inspire the next generation of writers. We hope to build on our first schools’ event in Uganda and continue to increase our commitment to literacy, literature and education in Africa.”
The official launch of the Caine Prize 2012 anthology, published by FEMRITE, will take place later that day (23 April) at The Barn Steakhouse, 34 Windsor Crescent, Kololo, Kampala between 5.30 and 8pm.
The public event will include readings from the workshop participants after which there will be opportunities to meet the writers and purchase signed copies of the anthology, over a complimentary glass of wine and live music.
FEMRITE co-ordinator, Hilda Twongyeirwe stated, “We are very excited that the Caine Prize is coming to Uganda, and we would like to use this opportunity to highlight the importance of creative writing and literature to people of all ages and backgrounds.”
The Caine Prize, awarded annually for African creative writing, is named after the late Sir Michael Caine, former Chairman of Booker plc and Chairman of the Booker Prize management committee for nearly 25 years. The £10,000 Prize is awarded for a short story by an African writer published in English (indicative length 3,000 to 10,000 words). An “African writer” is normally taken to mean someone who was born in Africa, or who is a national of an African country, or whose parents are African.
Ten workshops have been held to date, one a year from 2003, four of them in South Africa, four in Kenya, one in Ghana and one in Cameroon. The 2012 workshop was held in South Africa and further workshops are planned elsewhere in Africa in the coming years.
The Caine Prize is principally sponsored by The Oppenheimer Memorial Trust, the DOEN Foundation, the Booker Prize Foundation, Weatherly International plc, China Africa Resources, CSL Stockbrokers and Miles Morland. Other funders include the British Council, The Beit Trust, Commonwealth Writers, the cultural initiative from the Commonwealth Foundation, The Lennox and Wyfold Foundation, the Royal Overseas League and Kenya Airways.
Previous winners of the Caine Prize for African Writing are Sudan’s Leila Aboulela (2000), Nigerian Helon Habila (2001), Kenyan Binyavanga Wainaina (2002), Kenyan Yvonne Owuor (2003), Zimbabwean Brian Chikwava (2004), Nigerian Segun Afolabi (2005), South African Mary Watson (2006), Ugandan Monica Arac de Nyeko (2007), South African Henrietta Rose-Innes (2008), Nigerian EC Osondu (2009), Sierra Leonean Olufemi Terry (2010), Zimbabwean NoViolet Bulawayo (2011) and Nigerian Rotimi Babatunde (2012).