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Thursday, 3 May 2012

My take on this year's Caine Prize Shortlist

I've decided to try something different - especially for me as while I have reviewed short story anthologies, I have never done an individual short story. So this will be a challenge for me. But after reading this article on the Caine Prize shortlist, I was curious to know just how diverse and far from the "stereotypical narratives" of African fiction, this years shortlist is. On the Caine Prize blog, novelist Bernardine Evaristo, chair of this year's judging panel, said:
"I'm looking for stories about Africa that enlarge our concept of the continent beyond the familiar images that dominate the media War-torn Africa, Starving Africa, Corrupt Africa - in short: The Tragic Continent. I've been banging on about this for years because while we are all aware of these negative realities, and some African writers have written great novels along these lines (as was necessary, crucial), isn't it time now to move on? Or rather, for other kinds of African novels to be internationally celebrated. What other aspects of this most heterogeneous of continents are being explored through the imaginations of writers?"
I'm not here to criticise the Caine Prize, there is enough of that going around and you can read  here and here. I am just here as as a reader - to see if I like the stories and if they diverge from the "stereotypical narratives". So here I go, my first attempt at reviewing short stories individually (and I pick the Caine Prize shortlist). I'm not sure which story I'll read first, but for a reminder of the shortlist and links to the stories, check here

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