Senegalese writers Mame Bougouma Diene and Woppa Diallo have won the Caine prize for African writing, for their short story, ‘A Soul of Small Places’, becoming the first winners from Senegal to win the award since it was launched in 2012.
The Caine Prize for African Writing celebrates the richness and diversity of African literature and recognizes outstanding achievements in African storytelling. The prize is awarded annually for a short story by an African writer published in English. The winners receive £10,000 (about R233,000), and each shortlisted writer £500.
Diene and Diallo’s story was selected from a record pool of 297 entries from twenty-eight African countries. The final shortlist had 5 writers including Diene and Diallo.
Judges called the story a ‘visceral tale’ that speaks ‘powerfully, but not didactically, to one of the pressing global issues of our time’.
5 African writers shortlisted for the Caine Prize Winners 2023
Five African writers had been shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing 2023 edition.
- Yejide Kilanko (Nigeria) for ‘This Tangible Thing’, HarperVia (2023)
- Tlotlo Tsamaase (Botswana) for ‘Peeling Time (Deluxe Edition)’, TorDotCom (2022)
- Mame Bougouma Diene and Woppa Diallo (Senegal) for ‘A Soul of Small Places’, TorDotCom (2022)
- Ekemini Pius (Nigeria) for ‘Daughters, By Our Hands’, Isele Magazine (2022)
- Yvonne Kusiima (Uganda) for ‘Weaving’, Isele Magazine (2022)
“The stories spanned generations, genres and themes. They challenged, stimulated, shocked, surprised and delighted us in equal measure. The five shortlisted embrace speculative fiction and artivism (using art as a form of activism). Stories of gender-based violence and reproductive autonomy highlight the power of engaging and innovative/original writing. Love is embodied in stories of grandmothers passing on inter-generational wisdom. The sense of alienation engendered by teenage diasporic liminality sits alongside comedic outrage about the perceived status downgrade in moving from city to village. Each story will have its fans and advocates loved them all.” Fareda Banda, Chair of Judges, and a professor of Law at SOAS, University of London.