Kenyan Writer Makena Onjerika Wins The Caine Prize For African Literature


The 2018 Caine Prize for African Writing has gone to Kenyan writer Makena Onjerika.

Her short story ‘Fanta Blackcurrant’, was picked as the best, beating four other finalists. The short story was published by Wasafiri in (2017).

Onjerika was announced as the winner of the £10,000 {Sh1.3m} prize by the Chair of the Caine Prize judging panel Dinaw Mengestu at an award dinner on Monday evening.

The lovely Makena.

Image: The Star

Makena’s writing was[praised as ‘haunting in its humor, sorrow and intimacy.’

‘Fanta Blackcurrant’ is about Meri, a street child of Nairobi, who makes a living using her natural intelligence and charisma. While it seems Meri’s natural wit may enable her to escape the streets, days follow days and years follow years, and having turned to the sex trade, she finds herself pregnant.

Makena didn’t just wake up and write a good story. She has the skills required. She is a graduate of the MFA Creative Writing programme at New York University. She beat four other finalists: Nonyelum Ekwempu (Nigeria), Stacy Hardy (South Africa), Olufunke Ogundimu (Nigeria) and Wole Talabi (Nigeria).