Blogging the Caine Prize: And the Winner Is...

The winner of this year's Caine Prize for African Writing is NoViolet Bulawayo for her story "Hitting Budapest", originally published by Boston Review.

"Hitting Budapest" was the first story we wrote about for the Caine Prize blogathon, and it's held up better in my memory than I expected it would. Despite my qualms about some aspects of it, there's a vividness to the language that gives it some freshness. Were I on the jury, it wouldn't have been my first choice (that would be "The Mistress's Dog"), but it might have been second, or tied for second with "In the Spirit of McPhineas Lata", though that's a story that, unlike "Hitting Budapest", has diminished in my memory.


  1. I wonder if it might be a good idea to read all nominated stories and then wait a month, just to see which ones do hold up after some time has passed. Sounds like a very good criteria to me.

  2. I think it's a useful process for an award jury, certainly, to read, pause, re-read. But first impressions are also meaningful, as is the movement from first impressions to memory. We knew we'd get a chance to move beyond first impressions later if we chose to comment on the prizewinner.

    Actually, I think my perspective on the stories shifted more from reading other people's responses to them than from time, exactly. Or maybe one of the reasons "Hitting Budapest" stayed relatively vivid in my mind is that we read it first, and so, since I was mentally comparing all of the stories, it's the one I ended up keeping in mind most.

    And honestly, I found the whole group of stories pretty disappointing for an international prize, so it's not a yawning gap in passion between the one I responded to with the most enthusiasm and the one I responded to with the least enthusiasm.


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