The chair of judges,Nii Ayikwei Parkes, announced al-Fadil as the winner of the £10,000 (US$12,970) prize at an awards dinner on July 3. The event was held at Senate House, London, in partnership withSOAS University of London, as part of its centenary celebrations. The prize money is to be split between the author and translator, £7,000 for al-Fadil and £3,000 to Shmookler.
“The Story of the Girl Whose Birds Flew Away” is described as a picture of life in a bustling market as seen through the eyes of the narrator, who’s enchanted by a beautiful woman he sees there one day. After a series of brief encounters, an unexpected tragedy hits the woman and her young female companion.
Speaking for the jury, Nii Ayikwei Parkes praised the story, saying:
“The winning story is one that explores through metaphor and an altered, inventive mode of perception–including, for the first time in the Caine Prize, illustration–the allure of, and relentless threats to, freedom.
“Rooted in a mix of classical traditions as well as the vernacular contexts of its location, al-Fadil’s ‘The Story of the Girl Whose Birds Flew Away’ is at once a very modern exploration of how assaulted from all sides and unsupported by those we would turn to for solace we can became mentally exiled in our own lands, edging in to a fantasy existence where we seek to cling to a sort of freedom until ultimately we slip into physical exile.”
Bushra al-Fadil is a Sudanese writer currently living in Saudi Arabia. His most recent collection,Above a City’s Sky,was published in 2012, the same year al-Fadil won the al-Tayeb Salih Short Story Award.
Wasafiri: Tell us about your story ‘The Story of the Girls whose Birds Flew Away’. What inspired you to write it?
al-Fadil: I would rather prefer it to be translated ‘The Girl whose Sparrows Flew Away’, not Birds. To give the exact title as I wrote it. This short story was written in Arabic on 1979 but translated in English recently. It is my second short story. At that time women in my country were facing violence, sexual harassment and brutality of all kinds. I’m sorry to see women in my country are still facing the same.
Wasafiri: What’s next for you?
al-Fadil:I’m writing now my third novel. Setting it in what might happen to my country in 2084 after one hundred years of the famous novel 1984.
'amaBooks have published 36 books featuring 240 writers since we started in 2000.
For information about the books and the writers, please visit www.amabooksbyo.com.
Outside of Zimbabwe, most of the books are available through www.africanbookscollective.com or many other online outlets.
'The Maestro, The Magistrate & The Mathematician', 'This September Sun' and 'Where to Now?' are available in the UK from Parthian Books.
'This September Sun' is available in East Africa through Longhorn Press.
'The Maestro, The Magistrate & The Mathematician' is published in North America by Ohio University Press, in Nigeria and other West African countries by Kachifo (Farafina) and in Germany by Peter Hammer Verlag.
'The Maestro, The Magistrate & The Mathematician', 'This September Sun' 'Where to Now' and 'Textures' are available online through jamalon.com.
'amaBooks titles are available in Bulawayo at Orange Elephant, Book and Bean, Indaba Book Cafe, Natural History Museum, and the National Gallery of Zimbabwe; in Harare at the National Gallery, Blackstone Books and Avondale Bookshop; in South Africa at Clarkes (Cape Town), Bridge Books, African Flavour, Xarra and Love Books (Johannesburg).
If you are outside Africa and would like to buy a particular book through the African Books Collective, please click on the image of the book cover below.
If you would like brief information about recent books, to read extracts or to buy from an online store, click on the book2look logo below.
Otherwise, please email us at email@example.com, or find a bookshop through www.amabooksbyo.com.
amaBooks as e-books
Most 'amaBooks titles are available as e-books through ABC. Please click on the link below.
They are also available on amazon.com, amazon.co.uk and many other online stores.
This September Sun, Long Time Coming: Short Writings from Zimbabwe and Dancing with Life: Tales from the Township are available in the USA as e-books through Scribd. Please click on the Scribd logo below.
Moving On and other Zimbabwean stories
The Goddess of Mtwara
The Daily Assortment of Astonishing Things
The Maestro, The Magistrate & The Mathematician
The Gonjon Pin
A Memory This Size
Available from 'amaBooks in Zimbabwe
Where to Now?
This September Sun
by Bryony Rheam
Long Time Coming: Short Writings from Zimbabwe
Silent Cry: Echoes of Young Zimbabwe Voices available outside Zimbabwe