Meron Hadero wins 2021 AKO Caine Prize for Africa Writing

Meron Hadero, an Ethiopian writer, born in Addis Ababa, wins the AKO Caine Prize for African Writing this year, becoming the first Ethiopian author to claim the prestigious prize.

This history-making moment followed after her second shortlisting in 2019, for “The Wall”. This year, the Ethiopian writer successfully climbed the wall to see the other side — a side painted with gold and wallpapered with dollar bills.

The winning story, “The Street Sweep”, swept the judges off their feet.

It is a story about an Ethiopian boy named Getu, who has to navigate the fraught power dynamics of NGOs and foreign aid in Addis Ababa:

“He has that threat looming. He’s facing losing his ancestral home, and that’s the real driver of the story that makes him take charge and try to re-write that outcome that seems kind of inevitable,” the Ethiopian author briefly talks about the work.

“Looking through his eyes it’s almost a culture shock when he goes there,” she added.

Most of  the scenes of the story are set in her birthplace and much of it at the Addis Ababa’s Sheraton hotel, where Getu is invited for a party.

For the winning story, Meron Hadero will take home $13,000 in prize money, and will appear in an anthology alongside other finalists (Rémy Ngamije, Doreen Baingana, Troy Onyango, and Iryn Tushabe) to be published by The New Internationalist and co-published in 16 African countries.

By Elijah Christopher

Elijah Christopher
Elijah Christopher is a journalist at A New Touch Of Africa, is also a creative writer, a poet, and an IT enthusiast. He contributed to the collaborative poem written in celebration of Edwin Morgan Centenary, the first Glasgow poet laureate and Scottish national poet from the University of Glasgow. He loves meeting people and learning about new places, cultures, events, and lifestyles.

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