The shortlist for the 2014 Caine Prize for African writing includes two writers from Kenya, and one each from South Africa, Zimbabwe and Ghana/Zambia.
To commemorate 15 years of the Caine Prize this year, £500 will be awarded to each shortlisted writer, with the winner receiving £10,000.
The prize is awarded for a short story by an African writer published in English.
The two Kenyan authors are Billy Kahora for “The Gorilla's Apprentice”, originally published in Granta; and Okwiri Oduor, for “My Father's Head”, published in Feast, Famine and Potluck.
Also shortlisted are Diane Awerbuck from South Africa for “Phosphorescence”, originally published in Cabin Fever; Efemia Chela, from Ghana/Zambia, for “Chicken”, published in Feast, Famine and Potluck; and Tendai Huchu from Zimbabwe for “The Intervention”, published in Open Road Review.
The shortlisted entries can be read on the Caine Prize website.
Chair of judges, author Jackie Kay, said the short stories on this year’s list were “compelling, lyrical, thought-provoking and engaging”.
“From a daughter's unusual way of grieving for her father, to a memorable swim with a grandmother, a young boy's fascination with a gorilla's conversation, a dramatic faux family meeting, to a woman who is forced to sell her eggs, the subjects are as diverse as they are entertaining,” she continued.
“The standard of entries was exceptionally high so much so that it was actually very difficult for the judges to whittle it down to a shortlist of only five stories. We were heartened by how many entrants were drawn to explorations of a gay narrative. What a golden age for the African short story, and how exciting to see real originality - with so many writers bringing something different to the form."
Professor Wole Soyinka, Nobel prize winner and patron of the Caine Prize, announced the shortlist today as part of the opening ceremonies for the UNESCO World Book Capital 2014 celebration in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
In addition to £10,000, the winner will also be able to take up a month’s residence at Georgetown University, as writer-in-residence at the Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice.
The winner, announced at a celebratory dinner at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, on Monday 14th July, will also be invited to take part in the Open Book Festival in Cape Town in September 2014, the Storymoja Hay Festival in Nairobi and the Ake Festival in Nigeria.