The 2013 Caine Prize for African Writing has been awarded to Nigerian author Tope Folarin for Texan short story "Miracle," an extract from forthcoming novel "The Proximity of Distance."
Dr. Gus Casely-Hayford, an art historian, broadcaster and academic associated with the Tate Britain Council and National Portrait Gallery Board of Trustees, proclaimed "Miracle" a worthy winner, describing it as "a delightful and beautifully paced narrative, that is exquisitely observed and utterly compelling."
Set in a Nigerian evangelical church in Texas, presided over by a blind prophet, "Miracle" examines "religion and the gullibility of those caught in the deceit that sometimes comes with faith" through the eyes of a young believer, read the Caine Prize statement.
"What an unbelievable night. I'm still floating," tweeted Folarin after the July 8 awards dinner held at the Bodleian Library, Oxford.
"I'm so thankful to everyone who's sending love my way. Much appreciated #blessed #caineprize" (@topefolarin).
"My fellow shortlistees are great writers and -- more importantly -- wonderful human beings," he had written before the ceremony took place.
Folarin, who serves the Hurston/Wright educational foundation as a board member, represented Nigeria, -- though he was born and raised in the USA, where he lives and works -- a first for the Caine Prize, which is open to those who were born in Africa, are African nationals, or whose parents are African.
Besides receiving a £10,000 award, he is invited to become a Writer-in-Residence at Georgetown University, in his current hometown of Washington DC, and given an opportunity to particiapte in Cape Town's Open Book Festival which runs September 7-11.
The Caine Prize was established in 2000 and is named after its creator, Michael Harris Caine, co-founder of the Man Booker Prize.