South African writer wins wins Caine Prize
The South African writer and filmmaker, Lidudumalingani, has won the prestigious Caine Prize for his short story, Memories We Lost.
The prize, launched in 2000, is awarded annually to an African writer of a short story published in English.
The winning story, set in the Eastern Cape, explores how traditional beliefs are used to tackle schizophrenia.
The judges said it was a “gracefully narrated” tale that left the reader “full of sympathy and wonder”.
The story, which depicts the love between two young sisters and their efforts to persuade their mother and the local community to view mental illness in a different light.
The chair of the Caine judges, Delia Jarrett-Macauley, said it was a troubling piece on a difficult subject.
“Multi-layered, and gracefully narrated, this short story leaves the reader full of sympathy and wonder at the plight of its protagonists,” she said.
Lidudumalingani wins £10,000 ($13,152) and a month at Georgetown University in the US as a writer-in-residence.
After receiving the award, he told the BBC he had been struggling with his writing but now felt “excited” and “fed with new energy to create”.
He said the prize also gave him the opportunity to meet other writers and creative artists, which “inspires me to stop being a lazy bum and do better”.
Asked how he had approached his story, Lidudumalingani said he wanted to show empathy for his protagonists but also “not try to lie to ourselves”.
“Some of the ways in which villages operate are problematic and I wanted to put that across, but I also wanted to put that across in a respectful manner and not look down on people’s views,” he said.
The other Caine shortlisted writers were: Abdul Adan, Lesley Nneka Arimah, Tope Folarin and Bongani Kona.