Nigerian writer Tope Folarin has won the 2013 Caine Prize for African Writing (often described as Africa’s leading literary award) for his short story “Miracle” which was published in Harvard’s Transition Magazine in 2012. Gus Casely-Hayford, chair of the panel of judges for the Prize, announced him the winner of the £10,000 prize at a dinner held yesterday, July 8, 2013 at the Bodleian Library in Oxford.
Folarin was educated at Morehouse College and the University of Oxford (where he was a Rhodes Scholar) and is currently based in Washington, DC. He has received a number of writing fellowships and also serves on the board of the Hurston/Wright Foundation.
”Miracle” beat out the other works that made it onto the Prize’s shortlist: “Bayan Layi” by Elnathan John; “Foreign Aid” by Pede Hollist; “The Whispering Trees” by Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, and “America” by Chinelo Okparanta.
In praising the story, Casely-Hayford described ”Miracle” as “another superb Caine Prize winner – a delightful and beautifully paced narrative that is exquisitely observed and utterly compelling.”
Alongside Casely-Hayford on the panel of judges this year are award-winning Nigerian-born artist Sokari Douglas Camp; author, columnist and Lord Northcliffe Emeritus Professor at UCL, John Sutherland; Assistant Professor at Georgetown University Nathan Hensley, and the winner of the Caine Prize in its inaugural year, Leila Aboulela. Aboulela is also the first previous winner of the Prize to take part in the judging.
As well as the £10,000 cash prize, Folarin will also be a Writer-in-Residence at Georgetown University’sLannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice, and a participant in the Open Book Festival in Cape Town this September.
The African winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature – Wole Soyinka, Nadine Gordimer and JM Coetzee – are all Patrons of the Caine Prize. Ben Okri, a Nigerian winner of the Booker Prize, is its Vice-President and chaired the first panel of Caine Prize Judges in 2000.
Previous Nigerian winners include Helon Habila (2001), Segun Afolabi (2005), EC Osondu (2009) and Rotimi Babatunde (2012).
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