Okwiri Oduor wins Caine Prize
11 years since the Caine Prize for African Writing was last bagged by a Kenyan, Okwiri Oduor has finally clinched this year’s prize, a cash award of £10,000 (Sh 1.5 million).
Ms Oduor’s short story, My Father’s Head, beat four other finalists who included Billy Kahora and MD Kwani to clinch the prize.
My Father’s Head, which was included in the collection Feast, Famine and Potluck published last year, explores the narrator’s difficulty in dealing with the loss of her father and looks at the themes of memory, loss and loneliness.
The Caine Prize is now in its 15th edition and this year’s ceremony was held at the Bodleian Library in Oxford and was chaired by award-winning author Jackie Kay MBE, who is currently a professor of creative writing at Newcastle University.
“Okwiri Oduor is a writer we are all really excited to have discovered. My Father’s Head is an uplifting story about mourning Joycean in its reach. She exercises an extraordinary amount of control and yet the story is subtle, tender and moving. It is a story you want to return to the minute you finish it.” Professor Kay said.
The winner of the Caine Prize also gets the opportunity to take up a month’s residence at Georgetown University, as a writer-in-residence at the Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice. To mark the 15th anniversary of the prize, each shortlisted writer will also receive £500 (Sh 74,000).
Past Kenyan winners of the Caine Prize include Binyavanga Wainaina (2002) and Yvonne Owuor (2003).