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Olufemi Terry wins 2010 Caine Prize

By  | 8 July 2010 at 22:10 | 1264 views

A Sierra Leonean writer has won the 2010 Caine Prize for African writing, described as Africa’s leading literary award, for the story Stickfighting Days from Chimurenga vol12/13, Cape Town.

Olufemi Terry (pictured) won this award for his story on adolescent boys that fight and sniff glue in a city rubbish dump through inspiration he got while living in Kenya.

The chair of judges, The Economist’s Literary Editor, Fiammetta Rocco, announced Olufemi as the winner of the 10,000 prize at a dinner held last Monday evening at the Bodliean Library in Oxford.

Fiammetta Rocco said ‘ambitious, brave and hugely imaginative, Olufemi Terry’s Stickfighting Days presents a heroic culture that is Homeric in its scale and conception. The execution of this story is so tight and the presentation so cinematic, it confirms Olufemi Terry as a talent with an enormous future."

The Caine Prize for African Writing is one of the continent’s most prestigious awards. It is designed to uncover new talent. Previous winners include the Kenyan Binyavanga Wainaina, the Sudanese Leila Aboulela, the Nigerians Helon Habila and Segun Afolabi who have all gone to international literary success.

Olufemi Terry was born in Sierra Leone of African and Antillean parentage. He grew up in Nigeria, the UK, and Cote d’lvoire before attending university in New York.

Subsequently, Olufemi lived in Kenya and worked as a journalist and as an analyst in Somalia and Uganda. He now lives in Cape Town where he is writing his first novel.

His writing has appeared in Chimurenga, New Contrast and The Caine Prize for African Writing’s Eight Annual Collection.

The Caine Prize also gives Olufemi Terry the opportunity to spend a month at Georgetown University, Washington DC, as a Caine Prize/Georgetown University Writer-in-Residence. The award will cover all travel and living expenses.

Last year the Caine Prize was won by Nigerian writer EC Osondu for his short story "Waiting" published in Guernicamag.com.

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