Rotimi Babtunde, a Nigerian writer has won this year’s Cain Prize for African writing. Mr Babatunde was among five writers short-listed for the prize, which is regarded as Africa’s leading literary award.
His book which clinched the award for him is titled “Bombay’s Republic” and it is about Nigerian soldiers who fought in the Burma campaign during World War II. In the waords of the author, “the story is about African soldiers who go to Burma and came back with a sense of new realities and new possibilities”.
The chair of judges at this year’s awards, Bernardine Evaristo, presented the award at a dinner held at the Bodleian Library in Oxford on Monday evening. About the wining story, she has this to say: “It is ambitious, darkly humorous and in soaring, scorching prose exposes the exploitative nature of the colonial project and the psychology of independence”.
Besides the £10,000 rewad attached to the prize, Mr Babatunde, a resident of Ibadan, will also have the opportunity to serve as a writer-in-residence for a month at the Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice, Georgetown University, USA.