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‘African Booker’ shortlist announced

Two South African writers have been shortlisted for the prestigious 2011 Caine Prize for African Writing, announced on Monday.

The list was dominated by Southern African writers, with the three other authors hailing from Zimbabwe, Uganda and Botswana.

The Caine Prize, widely known as the ‘African Booker’ and regarded as Africa’s leading literary award, is now in its twelfth year, and recognises the work of African authors in the short story genre.

The shortlist’s five authors were narrowed down from 126 entries recieved from 17 countries across the continent.

Award-winning Libyan novelist Hisham Matar and chair of judges said the task of choosing was especially difficult given the varied tastes of the judges.

“But we have arrived at a list of five stories that excel in quality and ambition,” said Matar. “Together they represent a portrait of today’s African short story: its wit and intelligence, its concerns and preoccupations.”

All shortlisted works are available to read on the official website.

The winner recieves €10 000 and the opportunity to take up a month’s residence at the University of Georgetown in Washignton.

Last year the Caine Prize was won by Sierra Leonean writer Olufemi Terry. Last year’s chair of judges, Fiammetta Rocco, said at the time, the story was “ambitious, brave and hugely imaginative.

“Olufemi Terry’s Stickfighting Days presents a heroic culture that is Homeric in its scale and conception. The execution of this story is so tight and the presentation so cinematic, it confirms Olufemi Terry as a talent with an enormous future.”

The winner will be announced at the Bodleian Library at Oxford University on July 11 2011.

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Lisa Van Wyk
Lisa van Wyk is the arts editor, which somehow justifies her looking at pretty pictures all day, reading cool art and culture blogs and having the messiest desk in the office. She likes people who share her passion for art, music, food, wine, travel and all things Turkish. She can't ride a bike, but she can read ancient languages and totally understands the offside rule.

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