By Ogova Ondego
Published July 12, 2011
Elizabeth Tshele of Zimbabwe has won the 2011 Caine Prize for African Writing with her short story, Hitting Budapest.
Speaking at the award ceremony at the Bodleian Library in Oxford in the evening of July 11, 2011, the chair of the judging panel, writer Hisham Matar described Hitting Budapest as “a story with moral power and weight” and that it “has the artistry to refrain from moral commentary.” The judge said the author, who is better known as NoViolet Bulawayo, “takes delight in language”.
Tshele, whose story was first published in The Boston Review of November/December 2010, was awarded the £10,000 prize and a month’s residence at Georgetown University, Washington, DC, USA, as a Caine Prize/Georgetown University writer-in-residence.
The Caine Prize, that brands itself as ‘celebrating the very best of African literature’, had shortlisted five authors from 126 entries across 17 African countries.
Other contestants included Ugandan Beatrice Lamwaka – Butterfly Dreams from Butterfly Dreams and Other New Short Stories from Uganda (Critical, Cultural and Communications Press, Nottingham, 2010); South African Tim Keegan – What Molly Knew from Bad Company (Pan Macmillan SA, 2008); Botswana Lauri Kubitsile – In the Spirit of McPhineas Lata from The Bed Book of Short Stories (Modjaji Books, SA, 2010); and David Medalie, another South African with The Mistress’s Dog from The Mistress’s Dog: Short Stories 1996-2010 (Picador Africa, 2010).
Hitting Budapest, the winning story of the 2011 Caine Prize for African writing, will feature in BBC’s African Perspective on Saturday, July 16 and also in the weekend (July 16/17, 2011) edition of The Strand, another BBC World Service global arts and entertainment programme.