Caine Prize

Caine Prize for African Writing
Awarded for Best short story by an African writer in the English language
First awarded 2000
Official website

The Caine Prize for African Writing is an annual literary award for the best original short story by an African writer, whether in Africa or elsewhere, published in the English language. The £10,000 prize was founded in the United Kingdom in 2000, and was named in memory of Sir Michael Harris Caine,[1] former Chairman of Booker Group plc. Because of the Caine Prize's connection to the Booker Prize, the award is sometimes called the "African Booker".[2]


It was first awarded in 2000 to the Sudanese writer Leila Aboulela for her short story "The Museum", at the Zimbabwe International Book Fair in Harare. In its first year the Prize attracted entries from 20 African countries.

The winner is announced at a dinner in Oxford in July, to which the shortlisted candidates are all invited. This is part of a week of activities for the candidates, including readings, book signings and press opportunities.


Among supporters of the prize are friends of Sir Michael Caine in the UK, United States and Africa, the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust, the Zochonis Foundation, the Marit & Hans Rausing Foundation, the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, the Headley Trust, the Esmee Fairbairn Charitable Trust, the David Alliance Family Foundation, the Cairns Charitable Trust, the Botwinick-Wolfensohn Family Foundation, the Sunrise Foundation, the Von Clemm Charitable Trust, the Royal Over-Seas League, Sarova Hotels, Bata Shoes (Kenya) Ltd and (Zimbabwe) Ltd and Kenya Airways.

The four African winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature have supported the Caine Prize as patrons: Wole Soyinka, Nadine Gordimer, Naguib Mahfouz and J. M. Coetzee. Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, Sir Michael's widow, is President of the council and Jonathan Taylor is the chairman.

Critical reception

In 2011, African writer Ikhide R. Ikheloa criticized the prize, suggesting that

"The creation of a prize for 'African writing' may have created the unintended effect of breeding writers willing to stereotype Africa for glory. The mostly lazy, predictable stories that made the 2011 shortlist celebrate orthodoxy and mediocrity.... The problem now is that many writers are skewing their written perspectives to fit what they imagine will sell to the West and the judges of the Caine Prize...."[3]

List of winners

Year Author Work Source(s)
2000 Leila Aboulela (Sudan) "The Museum" [4][5]
2001 Helon Habila (Nigeria) "Love Poems" [6][7]
2002 Binyavanga Wainaina (Kenya) "Discovering Home" [8][9]
2003 Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor (Kenya) "Weight of Whispers" [10][11]
2004 Brian Chikwava (Zimbabwe) "Seventh Street Alchemy" [12][13]
2005 S. A. Afolabi(Nigeria) "Monday Morning" [14][15]
2006 Mary Watson (South Africa) "Jungfrau" [16][17]
2007 Monica Arac de Nyeko (Uganda) "Jambula Tree" [18][19]
2008 Henrietta Rose-Innes (South Africa) "Poison" [20][21]
2009 E. C. Osondu (Nigeria) "Waiting" [22][23]
2010 Olufemi Terry (Sierra Leone) "Stickfighting Days" [24][25]
2011 NoViolet Bulawayo (Zimbabwe)"Hitting Budapest" [26]
2012 Babatunde Rotimi (Nigeria)"Bombay’s Republic" [27][28]
2013 Tope Folarin (Nigeria) "Miracle" [29]
2014 Okwiri Oduor (Kenya) "My Father's Head" [30]
2015 Namwali Serpell (Zambia) "The Sack" [31]
2016 Lidudumalingani Mqombothi (South Africa) "Memories We Lost" [32][33][34]


  1. Dwyer, Colin (8 July 2015). "Caine Prize Winner: Literature Is Not A Competitive Sport". NPR. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
  2. Alison Flood, "'African Booker' shortlist offers an alternative view of continent", The Guardian, 1 May 2012.
  3. Ikhide R. Ikheloa, "The 2011 Caine Prize: How Not to Write About Africa", Next magazine, 20 May 2011. Archived at Ikhide.
  4. "The Caine Prize". BBC. 21 June 2010. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
  5. "Leila Aboulela". Contemporary Writers. British Council. Retrieved 6 July 2010.
  6. Stephen Williams (1 September 2001). "Nigeria's Habila wins Caine prize". All Business. Retrieved 6 July 2010.
  7. "Helon Habila". Contemporary Writers. British Council. Retrieved 6 July 2010.
  8. Mwenda Micheni (3 May 2010). "Caine Prize sways African writing". The East African. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
  9. Stephen Williams (1 September 2002). "Caine Prize 2002: Top award goes to Kenya's Wainaina". All Business. Reprinted at The Free Library.
  10. "Weight of Whispers by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor". Kwani. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
  11. Michelle Pauli (15 July 2003). "Kenya celebrates Caine prize double". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 July 2010.
  12. "Writing Pains". African Writing Online. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
  13. Michelle Pauli (20 July 2004). "Caine prize winner announced". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 July 2010.
  14. Michelle Pauli (6 July 2005). "Afolabi wins 'African Booker'". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
  15. "Literary win for Nigerian writer". BBC. 5 July 2005. Retrieved 6 July 2010.
  16. Michelle Pauli (11 July 2006). "Mary Watson wins 'African Booker'". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
  17. "SA literary prize winner's joy". BBC. 11 July 2006. Retrieved 6 July 2010.
  18. Michelle Pauli (10 July 2007). "Love story wins 'African Booker'". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
  19. "'Taboo' story takes African prize". BBC. 10 July 2007. Retrieved 6 July 2010.
  20. Lindesay Irvine (8 July 2008). "Henrietta Rose-Innes wins £10,000 Caine prize". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
  21. "South African wins top book prize". BBC. 7 July 2008. Retrieved 6 July 2010.
  22. Alison Flood (7 July 2009). "EC Osondu takes £10,000 'African Booker'". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
  23. "Nigerian scoops African 'Booker'". BBC. 7 July 2009. Retrieved 6 July 2010.
  24. "Olufemi Terry Wins the £10 000 Caine Prize for African Writing". BOOK Southern Africa. 5 July 2010. Retrieved 6 July 2010.
  25. "Sierra Leone's Olufemi Terry wins Caine writing prize". BBC. 6 July 2010. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
  26. Alison Flood (12 July 2012). "NoViolet Bulawayo wins 'African Booker'". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 July 2012.
  27. Ben (editor) (2 July 2012). "Rotimi Babatunde Wins the 2012 Caine Prize for African Writing for 'Bombay's Republic'". Books Live. Retrieved 3 July 2012.
  28. Alison Flood (3 July 2012). "Rotimi Babatunde wins Caine prize for African writing". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 July 2012.
  29. Lekan (8 July 2013). "Tope Folarin wins 2013 Caine Prize for African Writing". The Nation. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
  30. "Okwiri Oduor wins fifteenth Caine Prize for African Writing". The Caine Prize. 14 July 2014. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
  31. "Zambia's Namwali Serpell Wins the 2015 Caine Prize for 'The Sack'". Books Live. 6 July 2015. Retrieved 8 July 2015.
  32. Lindesay Irvine (5 July 2016). "£10,000 Caine prize for African writing goes to Lidudumalingani". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  33. "Lidudumalingani wins seventeenth Caine Prize for African Writing". The Caine Prize. 4 July 2016. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  34. "SA writer Mqombothi wins £10 000 Caine Prize". Independent Online. 6 July 2016. Retrieved 6 July 2016.


External links

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