Nigeria’s Rotimi Babatunde has won the 2012 Caine Prize for African Writing for his short story entitled Bombay’s Republic, which was published in Mirabilia Review’ Vol. 3.9 (Lagos, 2011). Babatunde received a cash prize of £10,000 prize at a dinner held Monday, July 2, 2012 at the Bodleian Library in Oxford.
Announcing the award, Bernardine Evaristo, who chaired the Panel of Judges said: “Bombay’s Republic vividly describes the story of a Nigerian soldier fighting in the Burma campaign of World War Two. It is ambitious, darkly humorous and in soaring, scorching prose exposes the exploitative nature of the colonial project and the psychology of Independence.”
Rotimi Babatunde’s fiction and poems have been published in Africa, Europe and America in journals which include Die Aussenseite des Elementes and Fiction on the Web and in anthologies including Little Drops and A Volcano of Voices. He is a winner of the Meridian Tragic Love Story Competition organized by the BBC World Service and his plays have been staged and presented by institutions which include the Halcyon Theatre, Chicago and the Institute for Contemporary Arts. He is currently taking part in a collaboratively produced piece at the Royal Court and the Young Vic as part of World Stages for a World City.
As 2012 Caine Prize winner, Babatunde will be given the opportunity of taking up a month’s residence at Georgetown University, as a Writer-in-Residence at the Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice.
The Caine Prize, awarded annually for African creative writing, is named after the late Sir Michael Caine, former Chairman of Booker plc and Chairman of the Booker Prize management committee for nearly 25 years. The Prize is awarded for a short story by an African writer published in English (indicative length 3,000 to 10,000 words). An “African writer” is normally taken to mean someone who was born in Africa, or who is a national of an African country, or whose parents are African.