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'African Booker' to Kenyan writer

21 July 2003

For the second year running the Caine prize for African writing has gone to an Kenyan writer. Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor was awarded the $15,000 (£9,000) prize for her short story Weight of Whispers. Narrated by an aristocratic Rwandan refugee and set after the 1994 massacres, the story was praised by the chair of judges, the writer Abdulrazak Gurnah for the 'subtle and suggestive way it dramatises the condition of the refugees and also successfully incorporates so many large issues.'

Owuor was born in Nairobi, studied English at Jomo Kenyatta University and went to the UK to do an MA at Reading University. She is currently executive director of the Zanzibar International Film Festival. Her story was published in the newly-established Kenyan literary magazine Kwani?

The prize attracted 120 entrants and the shortlisted authors from South Africa, Zimbabwe , Congo and Kenya were all awarded travel bursaries.

The Caine Prize is awarded for a short story published in English by an African writer whose work has reflected African sensibilities. It is named in memory of the late Sir Michael Caine, chairman of the Booker Prize management committee for nearly 25 years, and is thus often referred to as the 'African Booker'.