The Ako Caine Prize for African Writing is a literary award given to an African author of a short story published in English.
Prior to the announcement of its 2022 shortlist, Ako Caine Prize had been in existence since 2000. Its aim is to promote and highlight the diversity and depth of African writing by exposing it to a larger global audience. The emphasis on short stories demonstrates how the African storytelling tradition has changed over time.
An African author is given the AKO Caine Prize every year for a short story that was printed in English. For its 2022 contest, five authors were shortlisted.
The five shortlisted authors were chosen from a record number of 349 submissions from 27 African countries by a judging panel made up of Kenyan author and award-winning journalist Okey Ndibe, South African podcast host and literary practitioner Letlhogonolo Mokgoroane, Nigerian visual artist sk Okelarin, who lives and works in London, and French-Guinean author and literary scholar Elisa Diallo.
The Shortlist for Ako Caine Prize 2022
For the 2022 AKO Caine Prize for African Writing, the five authors who have been shortlisted are Joshua Chizoma (Nigeria) for “Collector of Memories,” Nana-Ama Danquah (Ghana) for “When a Man Loves a Woman,” Hannah Giorgis (Ethiopia) for “A Double-Edged Inheritance,” Idza Luhumyo (Kenya) for “Five Years Next Sunday,” and Billie McTernan (Ghana) for ‘The Labadi Sunshine Bar’.
Okey Ndibe, Chair of Judges, commented on the shortlist: “The 2022 entries provided a breathtaking feast. It was evidence of the vivacity, variety, and splendor of the writers of African descent’s creative genius.
On the 2022 shortlist, one publisher stands out: independent Brooklyn-based Akashic Books. Three of the selected stories (Danquah, Giorgis, and McTernan) were previously published in Akashic Books’ acclaimed Akashic Noir anthology series; Nana-Ama Danquah was the editor for Accra Noir, the anthology in which her and McTernan’s story features. Cassava Republic Press also gets to share in the good news as the UK and Commonwealth publishers of the Akashic Noir series.
Further more, newcomers Afritondo and Catalyst Press make the list for the first time with Joshua Chizoma’s ‘Collector of Memories’ – shortlisted for the 2021 Afritondo Short Story Prize and published in The Hope, The Prayer, The Anthem – and Idza Luhumyo’s ‘Five Years Next Sunday’ – winner of the 2021 Short Story Day Africa Prize, and co-published with Short Story Day Africa in Disruption.
Luhumyo’s entry makes this the sixth time a Short Story Day Africa published writer has been shortlisted for the Caine Prize, following Okwiri Oduor (winner, 2014), Diane Awerbuck (shortlist, 2014), Efemia Chela (shortlist, 2014), Tochukwu Emmanuel Okafor (shortlist, 2019) and Cherrie Kandie (shortlist, 2019).
Johnny Temple, Publisher at Akashic Books, says: ‘We couldn’t be more honoured to have three stories shortlisted for the prestigious AKO Caine Prize from two outstanding anthologies in our Akashic Noir Series—Accra Noir edited by Nana-Ama Danquah and Addis Ababa Noir edited by Maaza Mengiste.’
Confidence Uwazuruike, Editor of Afritondo, says: ‘We are absolutely delighted that Joshua Chizoma’s short story has been shortlisted for the 2022 Caine Prize. Part of our motivation for founding Afritondo was to offer a platform to share Africa’s literary voices and stories with the world. We look forward to sharing even more African voices and building stronger ties with the Caine Prize to amplify these voices, both within and outside the continent.’
Jessica Powers, Publisher at Catalyst Press, says: ‘We are super pleased to be included, for the first time ever, in this year’s Caine Prize shortlist, and want to thank our amazing co-publishing partners at Short Story Day Africa. Idza’s story is a publisher favourite at Catalyst and we’re bubbling with excitement about her future writing career as well.’
Each writer shortlisted for the AKO Caine Prize receives £500; the winner will receive a £10,000 prize. If a work in translation is chosen as the winning story, the prize will be shared between the author and the translator.
The winner will be announced at a ceremony held at the V&A in London on Monday 18th July 2022.
The ceremony coincides with the Africa Fashion exhibition – an exhibition which presents the irresistible creativity, ingenuity and unstoppable global impact of contemporary African fashions.
Dr Christine Checinska, Curator of the V&A’s Africa Fashion exhibition, says: ‘We are delighted that the 2022 AKO Caine Prize award ceremony will be held at the V&A, coinciding with the opening of our Africa Fashion exhibition. Our guiding principle for Africa Fashion is the foregrounding of individual African voices and perspectives. We hope this exhibition will spark a renegotiation of the geography of fashion and become a game-changer for the field.’
The 2022 AKO Caine Prize award ceremony is the final event in a UK tour for the shortlisted authors. Stops include a partnered event with The National Centre for Writing and the University of East Anglia in Norwich, and, in London, Candid Book Club and independent bookshop Libreria. More information about the tour will be announced soon.
All of the shortlisted writers will be published in The AKO Caine Prize Anthology alongside stories written at the AKO Caine Prize Workshop, held this year in Ghana.
News Source: Ako Caine Prize