Nigeria’s Tope Folarin has won the 2013 Caine Prize for African Writing, described as Africa’s leading literary award, for his short story entitled ‘Miracle’ from Transition, Issue 109 (Bloomington, 2012). Transition is a publication of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard University.
The chair of judges, Gus Casely-Hayford, announced Folarin as the winner of the £10,000 prize at a dinner held on July 8 at the Bodleian Library in Oxford.
‘Miracle’ is a story set in Texas in an evangelical Nigerian church where the congregation has gathered to witness the healing powers of a blind pastor-prophet. Religion and the gullibility of those caught in the deceit that sometimes comes with faith rise to the surface as a young boy volunteers to be healed and begins to believe in miracles.
Gus Casely-Hayford praised the story, saying: “Tope Folarin’s ‘Miracle’ is another superb Caine Prize winner – a delightful and beautifully paced narrative, that is exquisitely observed and utterly compelling”.
Folarin is the recipient of writing fellowships from the Institute for Policy Studies and Callaloo, and he serves on the board of the Hurston/Wright Foundation. Folarin was educated at Morehouse College, and the University of Oxford, where he earned two master’s degrees as a Rhodes Scholar. He lives and works in Washington, D.C.
Previous winners are Leila Aboulela (2000), Helon Habila (2001), Binyavanga Wainaina (2002), Yvonne Owuor (2003), Brian Chikwava (2004), Segun Afolabi (2005), Mary Watson (2006), Monica Arac de Nyeko (2007), Henrietta Rose-Innes (2008), EC Osondu (2009), Olufemi Terry (2010), NoViolet Bulawayo (2011) and Rotimi Babatunde (2012).