Nigerian author Jekwu Anyaegbuna has been named the winner of the 2012 Commonwealth Short Story Prize Africa Region for his story “Morrison Okoli (1955-2010)”.
Anyaegbuna wins £1 000 and will now compete for the overall Commonwealth Short Story Prize against four other regional winners, picked from a shortlist of 21: Asia regional winner, Anushka Jasraj (“Radio Story”); Caribbean regional winner, Diana McCaulay (“The Dolphin Catcher”); Pacific regional winner, Emma Martin (“Two Girls in a Boat”); and Europe and Canada regional winner, Andrea Mullaney (“The Ghost Marriage”). The winner of the £5 000 prize will be announced at the Hay Festival on 8 June.
Of the prize,
“There was a public bed situated at the centre of a market in a remote village in Africa. The bed could kill, yet every villager, male or female, fought like a lion to lay his/her back on this bed every year. Whoever succeeded in sleeping on this famous furniture overnight became a servant in the king’s mother’s fortress. The Commonwealth competition is this bed, and I am immensely thrilled to have won for Africa. I strongly believe this prize will provide me with the hoes and shovels to serve my motherland, Africa, affording me the strength and opportunity to plough through the thick literary farmland across the world.”
Congratulations and best of luck to Jekwu Anyaegbuna!