Namwali Serpell

Zambian Namwali Serpell in the running

The five writer shortlist for the 2015 Caine Prize for African Writing has been announced by Chair of judges, award-winning South African writer Zoë Wicomb. They are Namwali Serpell (Zambia), South Africans Masande Ntshanga and F. T. Kola (South Africa), Nigerians Elnathan John and Segun Afolabi.

The Chair of judges, Zoë Wicomb described the shortlist as, “an exciting crop of well-crafted stories. Above all, these stories speak of the pleasure of reading fiction. It will be no easy task to settle on a winner.”

Each shortlisted writer receives £500 and the winner of the £10,000 prize will be announced at an award ceremony and dinner at the Weston Library, Bodleian Libraries, Oxford, on Monday 6 July.

The 2015 shortlist and their stories include:

  • Segun Afolabi (Nigeria) for “The Folded Leaf” in Wasafiri (Wasafiri, London, 2014)
    Caine Prize winner 2005 for “Monday Morning”
    Read “The Folded Leaf”
  • Elnathan John (Nigeria) for “Flying” in Per Contra (Per Contra, International, 2014)
    Shortlisted in 2013 for “Bayan Layi”
    Read “Flying”
  • F. T. Kola (South Africa) for “A Party for the Colonel” in One Story (One Story, inc. Brooklyn, New York City, 2014)
    Read “A Party for the Colonel”
  • Masande Ntshanga (South Africa) for “Space” in Twenty in 20 (Times Media, South Africa, 2014)
    Read “Space”
  • Namwali Serpell (Zambia) for “The Sack” in Africa39 (Bloomsbury, London, 2014)
    Shortlisted in 2010 for “Muzungu”
    Read “The Sack”

Each of these stories will be published in New Internationalist’s Caine Prize 2015 Anthology in July and through co-publishers across Africa, who receive a print ready PDF free of charge from New Internationalist.

It is set to be an almighty battle between South Africa and Nigeria with the solitary Zambian in the middle observing matters. Elnathan John isn’t exactly unknown in African literature circles as he has been at the centre of the Boygate scandal involving Chimamanda Adichie. On the South African side Masande Ntshanga was the winner of the PEN International’s inaugural New Voices Award in 2013.