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Caine Prize 2003 winner announced : Another Kenyan win

Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor has been awarded the $15,000 2003 Caine Prize for African Writing, for her short story ‘Weight of Whispers’, published in Kwani? in 2003. Chair of the judges Dr Abdulrazak Gurnah, who announced the award at a lavish ceremony in Oxford on 14 July, commented on the ‘subtle and suggestive way [the story] dramatises the condition of the refugee and also successfully incorporates so many large issues’.

The Kenyan literary magazine Kwani?, was set up by Binyavanga Wainaina, winner of last year's Caine prize.

The other shortlisted candidates, all highly commended by the judges, were:

  • Ken Barris (South Africa): 'Clubfoot' from Modern South African Stories, AD Donker Publishers, Johannesburg and Cape Town (2002)

  • Emmanuel Dongala (Congo): 'Ouagadougou' from Transition, Duke University Press, USA (Issue 86, 2000)

  • Rachelle Greeff (South Africa): 'Tell Him it is Never Too Late' from Modern South African Stories, Johannesburg & Cape Town (2002)

  • George Makana Clark (Zimbabwe): 'A is for Ancestor' from Transition, Duke University Press, USA (Issue 84, 2000)

Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor was born in Nairobi, Kenya, and gained a BA in Linguistics in English and History from Jomo Kenyatta University before attending the University of Reading, where she studied for an MA in TV/Video Development. She has written a screenplay for the Africa Script Development Fund (Harare) and is currently an Executive Director of the Zanzibar International Film Festival.

This year's prize received around 120 entries of which 70 fulfilled all the criteria for entry and were submitted for judging.

The Chair of this year’s panel of judges, Abdulrazak Gurnah, teaches literature at the University of Kent and is the author of six novels, of which ‘Paradise’ was short listed for the 1994 Booker Prize. The other judges are Shirley Chew, Professor of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Literatures at the University of Leeds; John Sutherland, Lord Northcliffe Professor of Modern English Literature at University College London and visiting professor of literature at the California Institute of Technology, and Nana Wilson-Tagoe, Senior Lecturer in African Literatures at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

The Prize, awarded annually for African creative writing, is named after the late Sir Michael Caine, former Chairman of Booker plc and Chairman of the Booker Prize management committee for nearly 25 years. The Prize is awarded for a short story by an African writer, published in English (whether in Africa or elsewhere), with an indicative length of 3,000 to 15,000 words. An ‘African writer’ is taken to mean a writer born anywhere on the African continent whose work reflects that cultural background.

The shortlisted stories from 2001 have been published in a collection called Timbuktu, Timbuktu (Jacana, Johannesburg, 2002). An anthology including the 2002 shortlisted stories will be published later this year.

The Caine Prize for African Writing
2 Drayson Mews
London W8 4LY
Tel: +44 20 7376 0440
Fax: +44 20 7938 3728

posted 16/7/03

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