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Archived | 2018 Short stories > The 2018 Shortlist (July)

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message 1: by PS, Short Story Reading Chief (last edited May 17, 2018 09:55AM) (new)

PS | 143 comments Mod
In July, we will discuss the 2018 winner and the shortlisted stories. There are three Nigerians on the shortlist!

The Shortlist

1. American Dream by Nonyelum Ekwempu (Nigeria)
2. Involution by Stacy Hardy (South Africa)
3. The Armed Letter Writers by Olufunke Ogundimu (Nigeria)
4. Fanta Blackcurrant by Makena Onjerika (Kenya)
5. Wednesday's Story by Wole Talabi (Nigeria)


message 2: by PS, Short Story Reading Chief (new)

PS | 143 comments Mod
Kenyan writer Makena Onjerika has won the 2018 Caine Prize for her short story entitled “Fanta Blackcurrant.

Dinaw Mengestu praised the story in his remarks, saying, “the winner of this year’s Caine Prize is as fierce as they come – a narrative forged but not defined by the streets of Nairobi, a story that stands as more than just witness. Makena Onjerika’s ‘Fanta Blackcurrant’ presides over a grammar and architecture of its own making, one that eschews any trace of sentimentality in favour of a narrative that is haunting in its humour, sorrow and intimacy”.


message 3: by Wim, French Readings (new)

Wim | 846 comments Mod
I just read Fanta Blackcurrant, it's a short and fast read, but a very tough story out of the belly of Nairobi where life is hard and violent.

Onjerika's writing style is truly original, allowing her to describe the life of Meri without moral judgement, in a very clinical way.


message 4: by Cam (new)

Cam | 95 comments I just read the three Nigerian stories, very different styles but I enjoyed all three. Thanks to Sofia and the Caine Prize I have developed a love of short stories I never knew I had!

- American Dream - Nonyelum Ekwempu -
My only knowledge of Makoko before came from a news item so I was intrigued to read a story set there for a different perspective https://www.theguardian.com/cities/20.... The story is about slices of lives and she touches on so many themes (social role of religion, masculinity/femininity, childhood friendships....) that sometimes I wished she had focused on fewer but explored them in more depth. I would happily read a longer work by her though.

- Wednesday's story - Wole Talabi -
This started off being my favourite, as I loved the playful style and fantasy setting. The framing was beautiful, the rhythm was perfectly balanced, the stories within stories were intriguing. But the ending is a bit weak (what is this final paragraph?!) and just gender-changing your main character to a woman does not erase the fact that women in this story as purely there as victims of male violence.

- The Armed Letter Writers - Olufunke Ogundimu -
Interesting premises and sense of absurdity throughout... This story was so much FUN to read despite the seriousness of "the visit" and the wider social and structural issues it hints at. Probably my favourite so far.


message 5: by Anetq, Tour Operator & Guide (last edited Jul 15, 2018 05:18AM) (new)

Anetq | 796 comments Mod
- American Dream - Nonyelum Ekwempu -
I don't know, I liked the parts, but it didn't really come together for me as a story?! I almost read it twice, because I forgot I'd already read it, it seems there is nothing to hold on to. It may be a point (only the american dream?), but it made the story fall apart for me.

- Involution - Stacy Hardy -
At first I was thinking I wasn't neurotic enough to read a story of people afraid of disease and ignoring it (I once struggled through A Spot of Bother and hated it), but then it slowly dawned on me, that it wasn't actually an alien thing she was exploring... Interestingly written, if strange.

- The Armed Letter Writers - Olufunke Ogundimu -
Huh! Well there is certainly action in this one, but an annoying end. No resolution, just chatter. Maybe it's the nature of the short story, but for something with so much story, the end is a let-down.

- Wednesday's story - Wole Talabi -
"I stab Solomon Grundy with the emerald timestone and he stumbles back with a shocked and disbelieving look in his eyes" ...Yeah I am really not into Science Fiction, so unless someone tells me this is a masterpiece I might just skip it...


message 6: by George P. (new)

George P. | 210 comments I enjoyed Wednesday's Story by Talabi more than the winner Fanta Blackcurrant. I read scifi only occasionally, mostly the older works. I thought it very creative and had a lot of finesse in the prose.
If I read the other shortlisted stories I will probably edit this comment to add comments on them.


message 7: by Letitia (new)

Letitia Mason | 11 comments I enjoyed Wednesday's Story most too, but I agree with other comments that the end was a little disappointing.


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