Wednesday, July 22, 2009

So Maybe I can Win the Caine Prize One Day

I've gone off short stories lately. For awhile I thought I knew what I was doing and I got a few smack downs that put my faith in my ability in question. One of my goals has always been to win the Caine Prize one day, but a few months ago another writer led me to believe that some how the Caine was 'organised' so that certain writers were chosen to win, that the prize was seen as a way to develop African writers rather than an award to shed light on the excellent writing from the continent. It put me off the whole thing. I made no effort to get my longer stories in magazines this year, in fact , mostly I've made little effort to get any of my stories out there. For the first time in three years, I will have nothing submitted to the Caine.

This article, What does it take to win the Caine Prize?, has changed my mind. Fungai Tichawangana has taken time to analyze the winners; looking at their home country, the topic of their winning story, the winner's background in a bid to find out what characteristics do they share that might give a clue as to why they won. They are diverse. There is nothing that comes out to indicate why they won except that they are excellent writers. Fungai also points out that the judges change every year, so the assertion made by the writer who put me off the Caine seems to have been wrong.

So, my goal is reinstated- one day I want to win the Caine Prize-now I must get back in the saddle and get to work.

9 comments:

Tania Hershman said...

Go for it! In my experience there will always be those who say contests are rigged, I am sure I have moaned about this in my time, but I am not sure this is grounded in any reality, it is just how we let off steam. Please don't let it diminish your enthusiasm for writing short stories.

SueG said...

You go, girl! As they say, you can't win if you don't play :-)

Lauri Kubuitsile said...

Tania, I've been writing longer things lately which is probably more of the reason I have not been writing short stories. I've written elsewhere on this blog about the up and down rollar coaster of short story writing that I've lost the liking for lately. But I will go bak to them.

I also agree that all contests do have an element of politics and that must be considered as part of the game really as long as humans run the show. Of course when the robots take over that will be a different story altogether...

Thanks Sue, you are right.

Vanessa Gebbie said...

You go for it... but I have to say, I read this years winner last week. And loved the piece, certainly. Especially the opening, the characterisation, the devices... very original and clever.

But it is not actually a 'story' in the strictest sense of the word, is it? More of an excerpt, or a lengthy 'scene' or an anecdote. Descriptions. There is no arc.

Elizabeth Bradley said...

I see the Caine Prize in your future. :]

Lauri Kubuitsile said...

Vanessa last year the winner's story Jimmy Carter's Eyes was shortlisted; I thought it was better than his winning story this year, but then it was up against HRI's Poison which was fabulous.

Thanks Elizabeth, perhaps some years from now, we'll see.

Fungai James Tichawangana said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fungai James Tichawangana said...

Hi Lauri
I'm glad you found the article useful! I look forward to seeing you at the Caine Prize Awards- soon!

Lauri Kubuitsile said...

Fungai- thanks for stopping by and for your kind words. Yes, I did indeed enjoy your article.