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Kenyan writer Onjerika wins 2018 Caine Prize for African Writing

Kenyan writer Makena Onjerika has won the 2018 Caine Prize for African Writing for her short story ‘Fanta Blackcurrant’, first published in the spring 2017 issue of quarterly British literary magazine Wasafiri.

Narrated in the first person plural, ‘Fanta Blackcurrant’ follows Meri, a street child of Nairobi, who gains a reputation for stealing from local business women, eventually gaining the attention of the Nairobi’s criminals. The story then follows Meri’s violent run-in with them, and her eventual recovery.

Chair of judges Dinaw Mengestu praised Onjerika for writing a story that ‘presides over a grammar and architecture of its own making … that eschews any trace of sentimentality in favour of a narrative that is haunting in its humour, sorrow and intimacy’.

Onjerika receives £10,000 (A$16,993) and will be offered a one-month residency at Georgetown University, as well as invitations to speak at the US Library of Congress and to participate in literary festivals in Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria

For more information about prize, and to read Onjerika’s full story, visit the Caine Prize website here.

 

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Category: International news