Sunday, July 22, 2007
Four years ago I began an email correspondence with a young Ugandan writer called Monica Arac de Nyeko as part of Crossing Borders, a collaboration between the British Council and Lancaster University to link African and UK writers. She told me that she had a 'crazy plan' to submit a story to the Caine Prize, sometimes referred to as the 'African Booker'. 'Great,' I offered nervously, 'But don't set too much store on winning. Look for some other ways to get affirmaton for your writing as well.' The next year I ate my words as her name appeared on the Caine Prize shortlist with Strange Fruit, a deeply felt and beautifully poignant story about a woman experiencing brutality in the war of the north of Uganda. Imagine my thrill to hear her name again this year. As the winner! Read Jambula Tree in ‘African Love Stories’, Ayebia Clarke Publishing 2006.