A husband and wife from Senegal have won the 2023 Caine Prize for African Writing.
Mame Bougouma Dienne and Woppa Diallo were awarded the prize for their short story, a collaborative effort, entitled “A Soul of Small Places”, which the judges described as “thunder and poetic.”
This marks the first time a pair has won the award since it began in 2000, as well as the first time the prize has chosen a winner from Senegal.
Diene and Diallo win a cash prize of £10,000, and will have their work featured in the 2023 Caine prize anthology, “This Tangible Thing and Other Stories.”
Runners-up Yejide Kilanko, Tlotlo Tsamaase, Ekemini Pius, and Yvonne Kusiima will receive £500 and also feature in the anthology.
According to The Guardian, Chair of judges Fareda Banda, professor of law at SOAS, praised Diene and Diallo’s “visceral tale”. She and her fellow judges, the writers Edwige-Renée Dro, Kadija George Sesay, Jendella Benson and Warsan Shire, felt the collaborative work spoke “powerfully, but not didactically, to one of the pressing global issues of our time.”
“It reminds us too of the power of love in all its forms”, Banda added. “The winning story leaves a lasting impression and invites readers to return to it.”
The Senegalese duo’s “A Soul of Small Places” draws on Diallo’s experiences of gender-based violence, set against a backdrop of African cosmology in which spirits and humans coexist.
Diallo’s feminist activism began when she was just 15. At that age she founded L’Association pour le Maintien des Filles à l’Ecole (The Association for Keeping Girls in School) in Matam, Senegal.
Her contribution to A Soul of Small Places was through ideas and experience: Diene, whose debut short story collection, Dark Moons Rising on a Starless Night, was nominated for the 2019 Splatterpunk award, physically wrote the story.
Trending Video Of The Day;
Photo Credit: Getty