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The 2015 Caine Prize For African Writing47:54
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With guest host Michel Martin.

The winner and two finalists of the big Caine Prize for African Writing.

Writer Namwali Serpell is the winner of the 2015 Caine Prize for African Writing. (Courtesy Caine Prize For African Writing)
Writer Namwali Serpell is the winner of the 2015 Caine Prize for African Writing. (Courtesy Caine Prize For African Writing)

On Monday, Zambian writer Namwali Serpell won the 16th annual Caine Prize for African Writing. Her story, “The Sack,” looks at the aftermath of a past revolution through the eyes of two aged revolutionaries. The judges of the prestigious prize, given for works produced in English, called it “innovative, stylistically stunning, haunting…truly luminous.” Serpell and the other finalists are among the latest voices from Africa who are taking the world by storm, writers whose work, and often whose lives, move from Africa to Europe and the US and back again. This hour, On Point: new voices in African literature.
-- Michel Martin

Guests

Namwali Serpell, author and winner of the 2015 Caine Prize For African Writing. Professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley. (@snamwali)

Masande Ntshanga, author and novelist. 2015 Caine Prize Finalist. His debut novel is "The Reactive." (@mntshanga)

Elnathan John, writer and lawyer. 2015 Caine Prize Finalist. (@elnathan)

From The Reading List

NPR News: Caine Prize Winner: Literature Is Not A Competitive Sport — "Newly named Caine Prize winner Namwali Serpell says that her 'act of mutiny' — as she calls it — was premeditated. The literary prize, awarded annually to just one African writer for a short story written in English, comes with a financial reward — just over $15,000. The Zambian writer says she'd dreamed up her mutiny days before the Monday ceremony: If she should win, she'd split that sum with her fellow nominees."

The Guardian: A mental tyranny is keeping black writers from greatness -- "The black and African writer is expected to write about certain things, and if they don’t they are seen as irrelevant. This gives their literature weight, but dooms it with monotony. Who wants to constantly read a literature of suffering, of heaviness? Those living through it certainly don’t; the success of much lighter fare among the reading public in Africa proves this point."

CNN: 5 things you need to know about Caine Prize winner Namwali Serpell -- "Zambian author Namwali Serpell has won the 2015 Caine Prize for African writing for her short story 'The Sack' -- the first time a Zambian author has scooped the prestigious award. Described as 'truly luminous' by Chair of the judges Zoe Wicomb, the story explores the fraught relationship between two men in a love triangle with a dead woman."

Read "The Sack" By Namwali Serpell

Read "Space" By Masande Ntshanga

Read "Flying" By Elnathan John

This program aired on July 10, 2015.

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