I’m not known for my informed understanding of literature. I was in AP English classes, but in my college career I took English 102 and that was it. I’ve always liked literature, but I’ve never really digested it the way some people do. Over the years, my reading list has been increasingly covered in history and politics – mostly of the African conflict variety (seriously, just check my reading page). But knowing the facts of an event or series of events is only one part of understanding it, and that’s where I’ve turned to African literature. Last year, I joined a team of bloggers in reviewing the five short stories that were shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing. Those reviews are here:
- NoViolet Bulawayo’s “Hitting Budapest”
- Beatrice Lamwaka’s “Butterfly Dreams”
- Timothy Keegan’s “What Molly Said”
- Laurie Kubuitsile’s “In the Spirit of McPhineas Lata”
- David Medalie’s “The Mistress’s Dog”
A couple of months ago, I finally read Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, which has been the model for African literature (for better or worse), and I’m continuing my quest for more reading. Specifically, in a couple of weeks the Caine bloggers will be reconvening, and I’ll be reviewing the five short stories over a five-week period. The stories are all from Anglophone Africa, which I guess is expected and – to some extent – accepted. However, based on the judge’s statement, it seems promising that there will be a diverse quintet of stories this year.
Starting next week, I’ll be reviewing these stories. I hope you enjoy the stories and – if you’re interested – I hope you join us in this endeavor. These are the finalists for the Caine Prize (links to pdfs):