The shortlist for the AKO Caine Prize for African Writing 2021 has been announced today, June 2, 2021. It features Doreen Baingana, Meron Hadero, Rémy Ngamije, Troy Onyango, and Iryn Tushabe,

The AKO Caine Prize for African Writing is awarded annually to an African writer published in English for a short story. The prize has recognised some of the most famous writers working today like Leila Aboulela, Helon Habila, Yvonne Adhiambo Owour, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and many more. In recent times, winners of the prize have been Irenosen Okojie (2020), Lesley Nneka Arimah (2019), Makena Onjerika (2018), Bushra al-Fadil (2017), Lidudumalingani Mqombothi (2016), Namwali Serpell (2015), Okwiri Oduor (2014), and Tope Folarin  (2013).

This year, the prize is judged by Goretti Kyomuhendo who chairs the panel alongside Victor Ehikhamenor, Razia Iqbal, Georgina Godwin, and Nicholas Makoha. The panel has today announced the shortlist with short story writers from Ethiopia, Kenya, Namibia and Uganda.

Founding Director of the African Writers Trust and this year’s Chair of judges, Goretti Kyomuhendo said: “We were looking for literary excellence and great stories. It is clear that the wealth of stories presented to the Prize speak about the African experience from a multitude of perspectives and forms, while often centering the themes of love, loss, identity, hope and afterlife.“

It has been hugely encouraging to see consistently excellent editing throughout the stories put to our judgment, and we have enthusiastically noticed a large number of submissions from homegrown literary journals from the continent this year.

The shortlisted stories for the 2021 AKO Caine Prize are:

  • Lucky by Doreen Baingana (Uganda) published in Ibua Journal, Online in Kampala, Uganda, 2021.
  • The Street Sweep by Meron Hadero (Ethiopia) published in ZYZZYVA, Ethiopia, 2018.
  • The Giver of Nicknames by Rémy Ngamije (Namibia) published in Lolwe, Kenya, 2020.
  • This Little Light of Mine by Troy Onyango (Kenya) published in Doek! Literary Magazine, Namibia, 2020.
  • A Separation by Iryn Tushabe (Ugandan) published in EXILE Quarterly, Canada 2018.

The winner of the £10,000 prize will be announced via a specially curated virtual award in July. Each shortlisted writer will also receive £500.