Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Nigerian author wins Caine Prize with 'darkly humorous' prose

By Ivana Kottasova for CNN
July 5, 2012 -- Updated 1438 GMT (2238 HKT)
Rotimi Babatunde has won this year's Caine Prize
Rotimi Babatunde has won this year's Caine Prize
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Nigeria's Rotimi Babatunde has won the 2012 Caine Prize for African Writing
  • Babatunde's story was chosen from 122 entries from 14 African countries
  • The £10,000 ($15,700) Caine prize is awarded in memory of former Booker prize chairman Sir Michael Caine

London, England (CNN) -- Nigeria's Rotimi Babatunde has won the 2012 Caine Prize for African Writing for his short story Bombay's Republic.

His story follows a Nigeria soldier fighting in Burma campaign of World War II and returning home as a veteran with a strong sense of new opportunities.

More: Young writers start new chapter in Nigeria's literary history

Speaking at the celebratory dinner in Oxford on Monday evening, Bernardine Evaristo, the chair of the judges, described Babatunde's work as "ambitious, darkly humorous and in soaring, scorching prose exposes the exploitative nature of the colonial project and the psychology of Independence."

An upbringing of discovery

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.

Discovering an unknown family

Read the Caine Prize winning story here

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.

More: Voices from afar: Zimbabwe's writers connected to their country

Babatunde's story was chosen from 122 entries from 14 African countries. Evaristo has described the entries as "truly diverse fiction from a truly diverse continent." He said the prize shortlist reflected "the range of African fiction beyond the more stereotypical narratives."

Other shortlisted works included a tale of a homosexual man in Malawi or a story describing the tension between Senegalese siblings over migration and family responsibility."

More: NoViolet Bulawayo, the 2011 Caine Prize winner

The £10,000 ($15,700) Caine prize is awarded in memory of former Booker prize chairman Sir Michael Caine, to promote African writing in English and celebrate its diversity, largely unknown of by a wider international audience.

Established in 2000, the prize became an indicator of the next up and coming African authors, as shortlisted authors often enjoy a boost in their popularity and number of readers.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
African Voices
September 8, 2014 -- Updated 1322 GMT (2122 HKT)
Neurosurgeon Kachinga Sichizya talks about caring for newborns and mothers from underprivileged backgrounds.
September 17, 2014 -- Updated 1508 GMT (2308 HKT)
Mulatu Astake may be the father of a musical genre: Ethio-jazz. But when he talks about the art form, he tends to focus on its scientific merits.
July 7, 2014 -- Updated 1329 GMT (2129 HKT)
Australia's Tim Cahill appeals to the linesman after a disallowed goal during the Group B match between Chile and Australia at Arena Pantanal on June 13, 2014 in Cuiaba, Brazil.
Kenya's national football team may not have made it to the World Cup Finals in Brazil -- but one man will be there for his African nation.
September 2, 2014 -- Updated 0953 GMT (1753 HKT)
Daniel
Kenyan funny man Daniel "Churchill" Ndambuki chooses five emerging comics from the continent to keep an eye on -- they are going to be big!
July 16, 2014 -- Updated 1044 GMT (1844 HKT)
African contemporary art is thriving, says author Chibundu Onuzo.
September 15, 2014 -- Updated 1010 GMT (1810 HKT)
Photographer Ernest Cole made it his life mission to capture the injustice of apartheid in South Africa.
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 1239 GMT (2039 HKT)
Mulenga Kapwepwe
Mulenga Kapwepwe has single-handedly created an explosion of arts in Zambia.
July 21, 2014 -- Updated 1230 GMT (2030 HKT)
Wegkruipertjie, a short film playing at the Durban International Festival
From Ghanaian rom-coms to documentaries celebrating 20 years of South African democracy, festival-goers are spoiled for choice at this year's Durban Film Fest.
June 17, 2014 -- Updated 1240 GMT (2040 HKT)
Esther Mbabazi, Rwanda's first female pilot
Esther Mbabazi wheels her bag towards the airstairs of the Boeing 737 sitting quietly on the tarmac at Kigali International Airport.
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 1249 GMT (2049 HKT)
Nelson Mandela
Adrian Steirn and the 21 ICONS team have captured intimate portraits of some of South Africa's most celebrated. Here he reveals the story behind the photographs.
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 0926 GMT (1726 HKT)
Explore a series of artistic street portraits designed to pay tribute to the people of the Sudanese capital.
August 5, 2014 -- Updated 1557 GMT (2357 HKT)
A growing list of popular African authors have been steadily picking up steam --and fans -- across the globe over the last several years.
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1835 GMT (0235 HKT)
South Africa Music Legends stamps
Artist Hendrik Gericke puts a spotlight on iconic musical legends from South Africa in these incredible monochrome illustrations.
Each week African Voices brings you inspiring and compelling profiles of Africans across the continent and around the world.
ADVERTISEMENT