The winner of the 2011 Caine Prize is Zimbabwean writer NoViolet Bulawayo for her story Hitting Budapest.
True to her name, NoViolet’s story does not shrink from the realities of life. It depicts a gang of hungry young children from a shantytown paying a marauding visit to the rich neighbourhood known as Budapest to steal guavas.
In her acceptance speech NoViolet Bulawayo said that the story ‘looted’ her own childhood experiences. She says that she learned the art of storytelling from her grandmother and other women before she was even reading books.
Chair of the judges Hisam Matar said of the story: ‘The language of Hitting Budapest crackles… This is a story with moral power and weight, it has the artistry to refrain from moral commentary. NoViolet Bulawayo is a writer who takes delight in language.’
You can read the winning story, along with the other four shortlisted stories, and an additional 12 stories from new African talents, in the Caine Prize 2011: To See the Mountain and other stories.
According to the Guardian: ‘This is a vital collection of stories drawing on a rich treasury of material that couldn’t have come from anywhere else.’
The other shortlisted authors were:
Tim Keegan (South Africa) for What Molly Knew.
Lauri Kubuitsile (Botswana) for In the spirit of McPhineas Lata.
Beatrice Lamwaka (Uganda) for Butterfly Dreams.
and David Medalie (South Africa) for The Mistress’s Dog.