I read a couple of posts over the last week concerning the Caine Prize, and am finally responding to these, and more specifically to implications that yet another Ghanaian writer has been shortlisted for an international prize. There isn’t anything on the actual Caine Prize website – yet, but I suspect it should be up fairly soon – at least I hope so.
I did make a post not that long ago on the shortlisting of two writers from this country for the Commonwealth Writers Prize 2010. Actually neither of them won, in their categories, but that doesn’t really matter, in a way. Being on a shortlist is an achievement, and I wish we made more fuss and honoured our writers. However, that is another story
This time it is Mamle Kabu, some of whose short stories I have been privileged to both hear first hand (partly because she was involved in the British Council’s Crossing Borders programme), as well as read in books or on the web. Two of her most well-known stories include “The end of skill” which was actually included in a collection for the 2009 Caine Prize and “Human mathematics” which is included in an anthology entitled Mixed, edited by C Prasad.
This time I mention one of Mamle Kabu’s poems – “Orange juice” which I came across first on Laban Hill’s blog, but which is also on the American PEN website . For me, the poem beautifully expresses so many things about Ghana, and what one can miss and wish for. Personally I do not eat oranges while on visits to the US or Europe; I feel I would be disappointed. In many ways Kabu’s poem reminds me of Grace Nichols’, “Like a beacon” with its call of plantains, saltfish and sweet potatoes. It touches so many emotional buttons for me.
It’s funny how food can be so evocative.