Newly named Caine Prize winner Namwali Serpell says that her “act of mutiny” — as she calls it — was premeditated. The literary prize, awarded annually to just one African writer for a short story written in English, comes with a hefty financial reward — just over $15,000. The Zambian writer says she’d dreamed up her mutiny days before the Monday ceremony: If she should win, she’d split that sum with her fellow nominees.
“It’s such a wonderful group of people, such a cohesive group of writers,” she says in an interview with NPR. “And it just felt weird and sad that we were now going to be pitted against each other in some kind of battle royal. I think, for the writers obviously, literature’s not a competitive sport.”
Image: Namwali Serpell, this year’s winner of the Caine Prize. (Courtesy of the Caine Prize for African Writing)