The eleventh Caine prize for African Writing has been awarded to Olufemi Terry, a Sierra Leonean writer, for his short story, Stickfighting Days. Stickfighting Days is a story of life and death in a city rubbish dump. It is a story about Raul, a boy who lives in a dump and uses sticks to fight with other boys.
Terry, overwhelmed by his win, says Stickfighting Days ‘is the easiest story that I ever wrote’. He says, ‘the story just poured of me’.
The Caine prize, dubbed the African Booker, is given annually for a short story published in English by an African writer. Previous winners include the Kenyan Binyavanga Wainaina, the Sudanese Leila Aboulela and Nigerians Helon Habila, Segun Afolabi, E.C Osondu. This year’s prize comes with £10,000 and a month-long writing residency program at Georgetown University. At the presentation dinner in Oxford, the chair of judges, Fiammetta Rocco, described Terry’s story as ‘ambitious, brave and hugely imaginative’. She also described him as ‘a talent with an enormous future’.
Terry emerged winner ahead of Ken Barris( The Life of Worm), Lily Mabura(How shall we kill the Bishop?),Namwali Serpell(Muzungu) and Alex Smith(Soulmates).
Terry, who holds an M.A in Creative Writing from the University of Capetown, is currently working on his first novel, The Sum of All Losses.