“African Booker” 2016: you be the judge

On July 4 there will be sadness, there will be disappointment and shattered dreams. But very importantly, there will be excitement, joy, and celebration when the winner of the Caine Prize for 2016 is announced.

As the tension rises with the approaching date, and the judges put their heads together to decide on the winner (perhaps it’s decided already!), the obvious question is, Who wins it?

We give you a chance to form your own opinion before the announcement is made, and present to you the five shortlisted titles IN FULL. Use the comment area and share with us who you think deserves to win and why.

 

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The Lifebloom Gift
by ABDUL ADAN (Somalia/Kenya)

Two days ago, I was fired from my TSA job at the airport. My boss convinced some offended fool to press sexual harrassment charges against me. This was like the most preposterous thing. Everyone at work knows I’m straight. I have nothing sexual whatsoevever for men. I know it, my workmates know it, and the boss knows it. Even the offended fool knows it.

 

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What it Means When a Man Falls From the Sky
by LESLEY NNEKA ARIMAH (Nigeria)

It means twenty-four hours news coverage. It means politicians doing damage control; activists egging on protests. It means Franscisco Furcal’s granddaughter at a press conference defending her family legacy.
“My grandfather’s formula is sound. Math is constant and absolute. Any problems that arise are the fault of those who miscalculate it.”
Bad move, lady.

 

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Genesis
by TOPE FOLARIN (Nigeria)

 

One day I told my father about her offer. We were talking about heaven, a favorite subject of his, and I mentioned that I already had a place there. “I’ve aleady found someone to serve,” I said.
“What do you mean?”
“Daddy, I’m going to heaven.”
“And how are you going to get there?”
I told him about the old lady, my heavenly shack, the streets of gold. My father stared at me a moment, grief and sadness surging briefly to the surface of his face. And then anger.

 

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At Your Requiem
by BONGANI KONA (Zimbabwe)

I rewind time to conjure you back to life.
The paramedics open the doors of the ambulance and wheel you out on a stretcher, your body covered in a white sheet. They walk you back to the jacaranda tree where we found you; your feet a metre off the ground. They leave your body dangling in the restless wind and drive out of New Haven Drug & Alcohol Rehabilitation Centre.

 

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Memories We Lost
by LIDUDUMALINGANI (South Africa)

There was never a forewarning that this thing was coming. It came out of nowhere, as ghosts do, and it disappear as it had come. Every time it left, I stretched my arms out in all directions, mumbled two short prayers, one to God and another to the ancestors, and then waited on my terrified sister to embrace me.

READ Memories We Lost

 

Thumbs up if you read the entire shortlist. Now, which did you enjoy best? Use the comment area and announce your winner.


The Granta Book of the African Short Story

Presenting a diverse and dazzling collection from all over the continent, from Morocco to Zimbabwe, Uganda to Kenya. Helon Habila focuses on younger, newer writers – contrasted with some of their older, more established peers – to give a fascinating picture of a new and more liberated Africa.
These writers are characterized by their engagement with the wider world and the opportunities offered by the end of apartheid, the end of civil wars and dictatorships, and the possibilities of free movement. Their work is inspired by travel and exile. They are liberated, global and expansive. As Dambudzo Marechera wrote: ‘If you’re a writer for a specific nation or specific race, then f*** you.” These are the stories of a new Africa, punchy, self-confident and defiant.
Includes stories by: Fatou Diome; Aminatta Forna; Manuel Rui; Patrice Nganang; Leila Aboulela; Zoë Wicomb; Alaa Al Aswany; Doreen Baingana; E.C. Osondu.

Available at Amazon

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