Nigeria continues dominance in the Caine Prize for African Writing as another Nigerian, US-based Tope Folarin has won this year’s prestigious award.
Last year’s winner was Rotimi Babatunde for his story Bombay’s Republic – about Nigerian soldiers who fought in the Burma campaign during World War II.
Folarin received the £10,000 ($15,000) prize for his short story Miracle, set in an evangelical Nigerian church in the US city of Texas.
The judges described it as a “delightful and beautifully paced narrative”.
Mr Folarin was among five writers short-listed for the prize, regarded as Africa’s leading literary award.
Three other Nigerians were short-listed – Elnathan John for Bayan Layi, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim for The Whispering Trees and Chinelo Okparanta–the only female contender–for America.
Sierra Leone’s Pede Hollist was the only non-Nigerian short-listed for his short story Foreign Aid.
The chair of judges, Gus Casely-Hayford, awarded Mr Folarin the prize at a dinner held at the Bodleian Library at Oxford University in the UK.
“Tope Folarin’s Miracle is another superb Caine Prize winner – a delightful and beautifully paced narrative, that is exquisitely observed and utterly compelling,” he said.
In ‘Miracle’, a congregation gathers at a church to witness the healing powers of a blind pastor-prophet.
“Religion and the gullibility of those caught in the deceit that sometimes comes with faith rise to the surface as a young boy volunteers to be healed and begins to believe in miracles,” the Caine Prize said in a statement.
Tope Folarin is the recipient of writing fellowships from the Institute for Policy
Studies and Callaloo, and he serves on the board of the Hurston/Wright Foundation.
Tope was educated at Morehouse College, and the University of Oxford, where he
earned two Master’s degrees as a Rhodes Scholar. He lives and works in Washington,