Nigeria’s Babatunde Rotimi was announced as the 13th winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing at an exxclusive event Monday night in Oxford,England. The Chair of Judges, Bernardine Evaristo MBE, announced Babatunde Rotimi as the winner of the £10,000 prize at a dinner at the Bodleian Library in Oxford.
Babatunde, who beat authors from Kenya, Malawi, Zimbabwe and South Africa to win the prestigious award for a short story by an African writer published in English, tells of the experiences of Colour Sergeant Bombay in his winning piece Bombay’s Republic
Rotimi Babatunde’s fiction and poems have been published in Africa, Europe and America. He is a winner of the Meridian Tragic Love Story Competition and was awarded the Cyprian Ekwensi Prize for Short Stories by the Abuja Writers Forum.
His plays have been staged and presented by institutions which include Halcyon Theatre, Chicago; the Swedish National Touring Theatre; the Royal Court Theatre in London.
He is currently taking part in a collaboratively produced piece at the Royal Court and the Young Vic as part of World Stages for a World City.
According to Evaristo, “Bombay’s Republic vividly describes the story of a Nigerian soldier fighting in the Burma campaign of World War Two. It is ambitious, darkly humorous and in soaring, scorching prose exposes the exploitative nature of the colonial project and the psychology of Independence.”
Along with the prize money, Mr. Babatunde will be given the opportunity of being a Writer-in Residence at the Lannan Centre for Poetics and Social Practice at the Georgetown University. The prize will also cover his travel and living expenses. He will also be invited to be part of the Open Book Festival in Cape Town, in September later this year.
The idea behind the Caine Prize for African writing is to encourage the growing recognition of the worth of African writing in English, its richness and diversity, by bringing it to a wider audience and it is open to writers in Africa whose work have been published in English. Short stories are which reflect the contemporary development of the African story telling tradition are encouraged.