Waiting by E.C. Osondu (Discovering the Caine Prize)

I saw a story on the Guardian books site about a prize announcement…they called it The African Booker. Of course, I’m interested. The Caine Prize for African Writing is awarded to African writers for short stories “reflecting the contemporary development of the African story-telling tradition”. E.C. Osondu won The Caine Prize in 2009 for his story entitled Waiting.

Orlando Zaki was named for the tattered Orlando, Florida shirt that he wears. Other kids have similar names-sometimes the names stick when they receive a new shirt from the Red Cross and sometimes they get a new name. They are orphaned, fighting for food, and waiting to be adopted. I am always taken by stories written from the point of view of children. They are observant, resilient, and extremely fragile.

The shortlist for 2010 was announced April 26. The most exciting part (or maybe it’s extremely sad) is that I’ve never heard of any of these writers and their stories, except one- Chimamanda Adichie was shortlisted in 2002. I read her Half of a Yellow Sun last year (love it!) and have her collection of stories on the shelf. Links for 2009’s shortlist and the winner are on the website. “Discovering” them is what I intend to do!

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One response to “Waiting by E.C. Osondu (Discovering the Caine Prize)

  • Buried In Print

    Thanks for mentioning this: I hadn’t heard of it. Our public library only has 4 of the 10 authors’ work, which reminds me of something I recently read in Alberto Manguel’s The Library at Night: “Every library both embraces and rejects. Every library is by definition the result of choice, and necessarily limited in its scope. And every choice excludes another, the choice not made.” Well, 4 is better than none, I guess: I’m all for discovering too!

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