Tuesday, July 17, 2018
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Kenyan Author Wins Shs51m Literary Prize

Kenyan writer Makena Onjerika has said she was surprised to hear her name called as this year’s winner of the prestigious Caine Prize for African Writing at Monday night’s award ceremony.

She was among a shortlist of five authors in the running for the £10,000 (UShs51m) literature award

Onjerika’s story, Fanta Blackcurrant, is about a girl called Meri, one of a group of street children who live in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi.

Meri has an obsession with the soft drink flavour, it’s all she wants.

Onjerika said the story was a reflection of her life experiences especially during her time in boarding school.

She read a snippet of the story to the BBC’s Karnie Sharp:

She was our sister and our friend but from the time we were ‘totos’ (children), Meri was not like us. If the good Samaritans came to give us food or clothes or… asked us what we wanted from God some of us said, ‘Going to school.’

Some of said, ‘Enough money for living in a room in Mathare slums’, and some of us, the ones who wanted to be seen we were born again, said, ‘Going to heaven.’

But Meri, she only wanted a big Fanta Blackcurrant to drink everyday – and it never finished.”

 

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