Monday, October 17, 2011
I discovered the competition for The Caine Prize for African Writing 2011 quite by accident a little while ago. I am sure many of you can relate to this. I was surfing the web, reading a variety of posts and articles and stumbled upon it. The Prize is awarded to an African writer of a short story published in English, whether in Africa or elsewhere. The first prize was awarded in 2000 at the Zimbabwe International Book Fair 2000 in Harare and it's usually awarded every July. I read this years' 5 entries, enjoyed them immensely and wanted to share them here:
- David Medalie’s “The Mistress’s Dog” (South Africa)
- Laurie Kubuitsile’s “In the Spirit of McPhineas Lata” (Botswana)
- Timothy Keegan’s “What Molly Knew” (South Africa)
- Beatrice Lamwaka’s “Butterfly Dreams” (Uganda)
- NoViolet Bulawayo’s “Hitting Budapest” (This year's winner from Zimbabwe)
This novel is beautifully written and utilizes imagery in a way that brings to life the essence of the characters. It lays out simply and moves easily among a variety of themes, within which a multi-layered influences propels each character towards their fate. I must admit I was astonished that such a novel was written in 1899, one that explores and discusses the issues of race in America, not only among Blacks and Whites, but also the issues around colourism within the Black community, especially in such a dynamic and dramatic way. I did not find the story line predictable and the intrigue of what would happen next fed my interest.
As someone who reads and has read a lot of books, this novel was indeed a rare gem that I found. It is among the 10 best books I had ever read, fiction or non-fiction.