US-based Nigerian writer Tope Folarin has won this year’s prestigious Caine Prize for African Writing. He received the £10,000 ($15,000) prize for his short story Miracle, set in an evangelical Nigerian church in the US state of Texas. The judges described it as a “delightful and beautifully paced narrative”.
Mr Folarin was among five writers short-listed for the prize, regarded as Africa’s leading literary award. Three other Nigerians were short-listed – Elnathan John for Bayan Layi, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim for The Whispering Trees and Chinelo Okparanta for America. Sierra Leone’s Pede Hollist was the only non-Nigerian short-listed for his short story Foreign Aid. Ms Okparanta was the only female contender.
The chair of judges, Gus Casely-Hayford, awarded Mr Folarin the prize at a dinner held at the Bodleian Library at Oxford University in the UK. “Tope Folarin’s Miracle is another superb Caine Prize winner – a delightful and beautifully paced narrative, that is exquisitely observed and utterly compelling,” he said.
“Religion and the gullibility of those caught in the deceit that sometimes comes with faith rise to the surface as a young boy volunteers to be healed and begins to believe in miracles,” the Caine Prize said in a statement. This is the second consecutive year that a Nigerian has won the prize.
Last year’s winner was Rotimi Babatunde for his story Bombay’s Republic – about Nigerian soldiers who fought in the Burma campaign during World War II.