Story exploring freedom wins Caine Prize for African Writing

Story exploring freedom wins Caine Prize for African Writing

Sudanese writer Bushra al-Fadil has won the £10,000 Caine Prize for African Writing for a short story which explores freedom.

The prize money for “The Story of the Girl Whose Birds Flew Away” was split between al-Fadil, who was awarded £7,000, and translator by Max Shmookler, who was given £3,000.

The chair of judges, Nii Ayikwei Parkes, announced al-Fadil as the winner at an award dinner yesterday (Monday, 3rd July) at Senate House, London, in partnership with SOAS as part of its centenary celebrations.

Parkes praised the story as “one that explores through metaphor and an altered, inventive mode of perception … the allure of, and relentless threats to freedom”.

"Rooted in a mix of classical traditions as well as the vernacular contexts of its location, Bushra al-Fadil's ‘The Story of the Girl Whose Birds Flew Away’, is at once a very modern exploration of how assaulted from all sides and unsupported by those we would turn to for solace we can became mentally exiled in our own lands, edging in to a fantasy existence where we seek to cling to a sort of freedom until ultimately we slip into physical exile,” Parkes said.

The story was first published in The Book of Khartoum - A City in Short Fiction (Comma Press, UK, 2016).

Bushra al-Fadil is a Sudanese writer living in Saudi Arabia who holds a PhD in Russian language and literature.

He will now be given an opportunity to take up residence at Georgetown University at the Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice. The winner will also be invited to speak at the Library of Congress.