—Sierra Leonean writer Olufemi Terry has won this year’s Caine Prize for African Writing, for “Stickfighting Days,” his story of life and death in a city rubbish dump.
The Caine Prize of $16,000 is regarded as Africa’s leading literary award for a short story published in English by an African writer.
Judges called Terry a “talent with an enormous future.”
He emerged winner from a shortlist that included: South Africa's Ken Barris and Alex Smith, Kenya's Lily Mabura and Zambia's Namwali Serpell. This year's award was judged by a panel made up of the Economist's Literary Editor, Fiammetta Rocco (Chair), British literary magazine Granta deputy editor Ellah Allfrey, novelist Hisham Matar and University Professors Jon Cook (University of East Anglia) and Samantha Pinto (Georgetown University).
Three of the five judges are Africans, but this is a prize decided in England, awarded in Oxford for work written in English, noted editor Ellah Wakatama Allfrey in the Guardian newspaper.
Born in Sierra Leone to a Sierra Leonean father and an Antillean mother, Terry grew up in Nigeria, the UK and Cote d'Ivoire, studied at the New York University (earning a B.A. in Political Science in 1994 and a Masters degree in Interactive Telecommunications in 2002) and has lived in Kenya, Somalia and Uganda, working as a journalist and editor with The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, the World Health Organisation, and the World Bank. In 2008 he earned an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Cape Town. He now lives in Cape Town and is completing work on his first novel.
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