Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The winning qualities of the Caine prize

Ellah Allfrey meditates on the nature and existence of a prize dedicated solely to African writing and African writers. She acknowledges the difficulties involved with the label "African Writer," but nonetheless seems to shrug it off by implying that there's nothing wrong in having a literary prize address works from a given area. What, after all, is wrong in having Asian Man Booker?
What, in Holy Baajeba's name, is wrong in a person being called an African writer? Nothing, Ellah says, by Jove, nothing. After all, Ellah testifies (as a Cine prize judge), what triumphs in any prize, any, be it the prize for jaundiced-eye writers, or prize for widows and widowers, is the beauty of imagination. Simple. Alles klar?
Okay, here is Ellah in her words:
"In the end, for all the issues regarding the very nature of the prize, the ambition and imagination of the top stories won out. We loved what moved and transported us. It was that simple."
That's the winning qualities of the Caine prize.

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