Meet the 2022 shortlisted authors for the AKO Caine Prize for African Writing.Ruth Torty 21st June 2022 0 COMMENTS
The AKO Caine Prize is an annual award given to an African writer for a short story published in English. This year saw a record total of 349 entries from 27 African countries—a 130% increase in submissions.
The five shortlisted authors were selected by a judging panel comprising Nigerian author and award-winning journalist Okey Ndibe (Chair); French-Guinean author and literary scholar Elisa Diallo; South African podcast host and literary practitioner Letlhogonolo Mokgoroane; London-based Nigerian visual artist Àsìkò Okelarin; Kenyan Book Bunk co-founder Angela Wachuka.
Speaking of the shortlist, Okey Ndibe, Chair of Judges, said: “The 2022 entries represented a staggering feast. It was a testament to the vibrancy, variety and splendour of creative talent among writers of African descent.”
Keep reading to learn more about the five shortlisted authors for the 2022 AKO Caine Prize for African Writing.
Meet The Authors
Hannah Giorgis (Ethiopia) for ‘A Double-Edged Inheritance’
Hannah’s short stories have appeared in the Addis Ababa Noir anthology, the Lifted Brow literary journal, and SPOOK magazine. She was the recipient of the 2018 Yoojin Grace Wuertz Writers of Immigration and Diaspora fellowship at the Jack Jones Literary Arts retreat and the 2021 Writer-in-Residence at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. Most recently, Hannah co-wrote Ida B. The Queen: The Extraordinary Life and Legacy of Ida B. Wells, a dedication to the pioneering American journalist and advocate, with Wells’ great-granddaughter, Michelle Duster.
Joshua Chizoma (Nigeria) for ‘Collector of Memories’.
Joshua won the 2020 Awele Creative Trust Short Story Prize with his short story “Their Boy”. He is also an alumnus of the 2019 Purple Hibiscus Creative Writing Workshop taught by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. His shortlisted entry ‘Collector of Memories’ is a story from The Hope, The Prayer, The Anthem anthology published by Afritondo.
“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”, says Confidence Uwazuruike, Editor of Afritondo.
Nana-Ama Danquah (Ghana) for ‘When a Man Loves a Woman’
Danquah’s memoir ‘Willow Weep for Me: A Black Woman’s Journey Through Depression’ was published in 1998. Her struggle with clinical depression formed the basis for her memoir. Excerpts from the book were published in the anthology Out of Her Mind: Women Writing on Madness. She is a contributor to the 2019 anthology New Daughters of Africa, edited by Margaret Busby, with the memoir “Saying Goodbye to Mary Danquah”. Nana-Ama Danquah was also the editor for Accra Noir, the anthology in which both her and McTernan’s story features.
Idza Luhumyo (Kenya) for ‘Five Years Next Sunday’
Idza Luhumyo was born in Mombasa, Kenya, and holds a law degree from Nairobi University. Luhumyo’s work has been published by Popula, Jalada Africa, The Writivism Anthology, MaThoko’s Books, Gordon Square Review, Amsterdam’s ZAM Magazine, and Short Story Day Africa. She also won the Short Story Day Africa Prize 2021 with her story “Five Years Next Sunday”. Idza’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).
Her entry also put the story’s publisher, Catalyst Press on the list for the first time. “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”, says Jessica Powers, Publisher at Catalyst Press.
Billie McTernan (Ghana) for ‘The Labadi Sunshine Bar’.
Billie McTernan is a writer and artist who experiments with literary and visual art forms. She has been published in TSA Art Magazine, ARTnews, Artsy, Financial Times Life & Arts, Contemporary And, ARTS.BLACK and other independent artist-run platforms. She is currently working on a piece that falls somewhere between a short story and a novel.
Interestingly, Brooklyn-based press Akashic Books dominates the publisher’s list with three shortlisted stories (Danquah, Giorgis, McTernan).
“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”, says Johnny Temple, Publisher at Akashic Books.
Shortlisted writers for the AKO Caine Prize are expected to receive £500. The winner will receive a £10,000 prize. However, If a work in translation is selected 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.
Ruth Torty is a biochemist, and freelance science writer. She writes to shed light on health issues, rare diseases and science research in Nigeria. She is also a creative writer and has published on different literary sites including Spillwords and Nnoko Stories. She is passionate about genomics and its role in healthcare.