E.C Osondu’s Waiting, a short story published in Guernica, was awarded the 2009 Caine Prize for African Writing. The story is about young African refugees waiting to be adopted by white westerners. A Caine Prize judge complimented the story for being without “an ounce of fat”. The writing was clinical, not an extra word needed to tell the tale, exactly 3000 words, the minimum word requirement for a Caine Prize entry.
Waiting relies on the emotional and intellectual maturity of the reader. Like a jazz record, it is not for everyone. This is literary fiction riddled with skill and technique. Osondu was also shortlisted for the 2007 Caine Prize. It is wrong to believe that Osondu mastered the style favoured by Caine Prize judges and wrote Waiting for a win. Osondu dug deeper, Waiting is a satire about Literary Prizes and African Writers.
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