From Nearly 300 Entries, Meet the Shortlisted Writers for The 2023 Caine Prize

The Caine Prize for African Writing, an esteemed annual award honouring outstanding African writers, has announced the shortlist for the 2023 edition. The five shortlisted stories were carefully selected from a pool of 297 entries originating from 28 African countries.

Shortlisted Writers for the 2023 Caine Prize for African Writing

Yejide Kilanko (Nigeria) for ‘This Tangible Thing’, HarperVia (2023)

Yejide Kilanko was born in Ibadan, Nigeria. She writes poetry and fiction. Kilanko’s debut novel, Daughters Who Walk This Path, a Canadian national bestseller, was longlisted for the 2016 Nigeria Prize for Literature. Her short fiction is included in the anthology, New Orleans Review 2017: The African Literary Hustle. Kilanko’s latest novel, A Good Name, was published in 2021. Kilanko lives in Ontario, Canada where she practices as a social worker.

Tlotlo Tsamaase (Botswana) for ‘Peeling Time (Deluxe Edition)’, TorDotCom (2022)

Tlotlo Tsamaase is a Motswana author (xe/xem/xer or she/her pronouns). Tlotlo’s debut adult novel, Womb City, comes out in January 2024 from Erewhon Books. Xer novella, The Silence of the Wilting Skin, is a 2021 Lambda Literary Award finalist and was shortlisted for a 2021 Nommo Award. Tlotlo has received support from the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, and xer story “Behind Our Irises” is the joint winner of the Nommo Award for Best Short Story (2021). Tlotlo’s short fiction has appeared in News Suns 2, Africa Risen, The Best of World SF Volume 1, Clarkesworld, Terraform, and Africanfuturism Anthology, and is forthcoming in Chiral Mad 5. Xe obtained a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Botswana and won an award for design architecture. Tsamaase is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at Chapman University.

Mame Bougouma Diene and Woppa Diallo (Senegal) for ‘A Soul of Small Places’, TorDotCom (2022)

Mame Bougouma Diene is a Franco –Senegalese American humanitarian based in Pretoria, the francophone spokesperson for the African Speculative Fiction Society (, the French language editor for Omenana Magazine, and a regular columnist at Strange Horizons. You can find his fiction and nonfiction work in Omenana, Galaxies SF, Edilivres, Fiyah! Truancy Magazine, EscapePod, Mythaxis, Apex Magazine and TorDotCom; and in anthologies such as AfroSFv2 & V3 (Storytime), Myriad Lands (Guardbridge Books), You Left Your Biscuit Behind (Fox Spirit Books), This Book Ain’t Nuttin to Fuck Wit (Clash Media), Africanfuturism (Brittle Paper), Dominion (Aurelia Leo), Meteotopia (Future Fiction/Co-Futures in English and Italian), Bridging Worlds (Jembefola Press) and Africa Risen (TorDotCom). His novelette The Satellite Charmer is translated in Italian by Moscabianca Edizioni, his novelette Ogotemmeli’s Song is translated in Bangla (Joydhak Prakashan). He was nominated for several Nommo Awards, and his debut collection “Dark Moons Rising on a Starless Night” (Clash Books) was nominated for the 2019 Splatterpunk Award.

Woppa Diallo is a lawyer with a specialisation in human rights, humanitarian action and peace promotion. She is a feminist activist committed to social change and the realisation of women’s rights. Woppa founded Association pour le Maintien des Filles à l’Ecole (AMFE) at fifteen in Matam, Senegal, to ensure fair access to education for girls, eradicate gender-based stereotypes, promote sexual & reproductive health, and the continued socialisation of girls-victims of gender-based violence.

Ekemini Pius (Nigeria) for ‘Daughters, By Our Hands’, Isele Magazine (2022)

Ekemini Pius is a Nigerian writer and editor who lives in Calabar, Nigeria. His works have been published in the Kendeka Prize for African Literature anthology, the K & L Prize anthology, Afro Literary Magazine, and Isele Magazine. His story, ‘Time and Bodies’ was shortlisted for the 2021 Kendeka Prize for African Literature. He was also shortlisted for the 2022 Awele Creative Trust Short Story Prize. He is an alumnus of the 2019 Wawa Literary Fellowship and was a finalist for the 2022 Guest Artist Space Fellowship. He is currently working on his debut novel.

Yvonne Kusiima (Uganda) for ‘Weaving’, Isele Magazine (2022)

Yvonne Kusiima is a writer from Kampala, Uganda with a degree in Social Sciences. She is interested in the complexities of human societies and aims to shake things up to make this world a better place. She believes stories have the power to change the status quo, one word at a time. Her work has been published in African Writer Magazine, Kalahari Review, Brittle Paper, The Hektoen International Journal of Medical Humanities and Isele. Her work has been shortlisted for the Isele short story prize (2023).

About The Caine Prize for African Writing 2023

This year’s submissions encompassed a diverse range of talent from 28 different countries, including Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Egypt, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

This year’s shortlist also boasts a joint submission and an all-women judging panel marking significant milestones in the history of the Caine Prize.

Ukamaka Olisakwe Editor of Isele Magazine expressed her excitement: “Isele Magazine is barely three years and just look! Look at the brilliance!”

The winner of the £10 000 prize will be announced at an award ceremony and dinner in London on Monday 10 July 2023. Each shortlisted writer will also receive £5001. The stories will be published in an anthology titled The Caine Prize for African Writing 2023 which will be available from New Internationalist in July 2023.

The Caine Prize for African Writing is a literature prize awarded to an African writer of a short story published in English. The prize was launched in 2000 to encourage and highlight the richness and diversity of African writing by bringing it to a wider audience internationally. The focus on the short story reflects the contemporary development of the African story-telling tradition.

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