Many of us are well aware of major literary awards such as The Booker, The Pulitzer, The Orange Prize, etc. Some of these awards are only open to residents of a particular country. Others are a broader, accepting works published in English no matter where they come from. It probably fair to say that the winning books are more likely to be written by a Westerner or where English is the author’s first language.
Our readers and the books they have on their bookshelves are the best testament to the popularity of the subject of Africa. But I wonder how many of you have heard about The Caine Prize also known as The African Booker. I’ve always had a great appetite for writing from and about the African Continent, but I only learned about this award very recently. I was really taken by the statement by Bernardine Evaristo (2012 Chair of Judges) who said:
“I’m looking for stories about Africa that enlarge our concept of the continent beyond the familiar images that dominate the media: War-torn Africa, Starving Africa, Corrupt Africa – in short: The Tragic Continent. I’ve been banging on about this for years because while we are all aware of these negative realities, and some African writers have written great novels along these lines (as was necessary, crucial), isn’t it time now to move on?”
Looking for something new to read… go ahead and discover the new Africa the way Africans see it!