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.