Kenyan writer wins Caine Prize for African Writing

Kenyan writer wins Caine Prize for African Writing

Kenya’s Okwiri Oduor has won the 2014 Caine Prize for African Writing.

Oduor won for her short story "My Father’s Head", published in Feast, Famine and Potluck: Short Story Day Africa (Modjaji Books), which includes stories from writers across Africa.

She was awarded her £10,000 prize last night (14th July) at a dinner at the Bodleian Library in Oxford.

"My Father’s Head" explores the narrator’s difficulty in dealing with the loss of her father, and explores themes of memory, loss and loneliness.

Chair of judges and author Jackie Kay said: “Okwiri Oduor is a writer we are all really excited to have discovered.

“My Father’s Head is an uplifting story about mourning – Joycean in its reach. She exercises an extraordinary amount of control and yet the story is subtle, tender and moving.

“It is a story you want to return to the minute you finish it.”

Oduor directed the inaugural Writivism Literary Festival in Kampala, Uganda in August 2013 and her novella, The Dream Chasers, was highly commended in the Commonwealth Book Prize, 2012. She is currently working on her debut novel.

Her prize includes the chance to take up a month’s residence at Georgetown University, as a writer-in-residence at the Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice and will 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.

To mark the 15th anniversary of the prize, each shortlisted writer will also receive £500.

Last year’s Caine Prize was won by Nigerian writer Tope Folarin.