SA PEN Writers Shortlisted for 2010 Caine Prize

09 May 2010

Two members of the South African Centre of International PEN (SA PEN) whose stories were entered for the 2009 PEN/Studzinski Literary Award are on a shortlist of five for the 2010 Caine Prize for African Writing. They were selected from 115 entries from 13 African countries for the Caine Prize shortlist.

“The Life of Worm” by Ken Barris and “Soulmates” by Alex Smith were both published in New Writing from Africa 2009, an anthology of the short stories selected as finalists in the 2009 PEN/Studzinski Award.

The SA PEN literary awards for short stories have offered an important foundation to many emerging South African writers since their inception in 2005. In 2007, Henrietta Rose-Innes won the HSBC/SA PEN Literary Award for her short story “Poison” which was published in African Pens, one of a series of books of new creative writing which showcased selected contributions to the competition. In 2008, Henrietta won the Caine Prize for “Poison”.

Ken Barris was also shortlisted for the 2003 Caine Prize and Alex Smith launched her third publication Four Drunk Beauties on 12 May.

Referring to the Caine Prize shortlist, the chair of the Caine Prize judges, The Economist literary editor Fiammetta Rocco, said: “Africa has much to be proud of in these five writers. Not only are their stories all confident, ambitious and skillfully written, each one boasts an added dimension – a voice, character or particular emotional connection – that makes it uniquely powerful.”

The shortlisted writers will read from their work at the Royal Over-Seas League on Friday, 2 July and at the London Literature Festival at the Southbank Centre, on Sunday, 4 July. The winner of the £10 000 prize is to be announced at a celebratory dinner at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, on Monday, 5 July.

The winner will be given the opportunity of taking up a month’s residence at Georgetown University, Washington DC, as a ‘Caine Prize/Georgetown University Writer-in-Residence’.

2011 PEN/Studzinski Literary Award

The closing date for entries for the 2011 PEN/Studzinski Literary award for original short stories in English is Wednesday, 30 June 2010. The winners will be announced and African Pens 2011, a compilation of the shortlisted stories, will be published in mid-2011.

Prizes totalling £10 000 will be donated by American philanthropist and global investment banker, John Studzinski. The first, second and third prizes will be £5 000, £3 000 and £2 000, respectively.

Nobel Laureate and SA PEN Honorary Member, J.M. Coetzee, will select the winning entries.