ANKE OLIVIER

 

Professor David Medalie, of the Department of English, has been shortlisted for the Caine Prize. The prize is a very prestigious award given to an African author for his or her short story in English.

Medalie has been placed on the shortlist for his short story, The Mistress’s Dog. The story focuses on an ageing widow who has been left caring for the elderly dog of her husband’s late mistress. She reflects on her life and how she lived with the secret knowledge of the affair.

Medalie says that he has always loved language and what an author can do with language. “It takes you into other people’s lives,” he explained. “It is a way of asking about the issues of real life.” Medalie added that his motivation for writing The Mistress’s Dog comes from the general theme of choice that characterises most of his work.

The Mistress’s Dog can be found in the library as part of Medalie’s published book, The Mistress’s Dog: Short stories 1996-2010. The short story can also be found on the Caine Prize website www.caineprize.com

The winner of the Caine Prize will be announced on 11 July at the prize giving dinner, held in the historic Divinity School of Oxford University’s Bodleian Library. “It is very exciting,” says Medalie. The writers will read and discuss their stories at the Royal Over-Seas League in London on 8 July and at the London Literature Festival two days later.

Publishers submitted 126 entries from 17 countries for the prize. The chair of the judging panel, prize-winning Libyan novelist Hisham Matar, said, “Choosing a shortlist out of nearly 130 entries was not an easy task – one made more difficult and yet more enjoyable by the varied tastes of the judges – but we have arrived at a list of five stories that excel in quality and ambition.”

According to Maureen Isaacson from the Sunday Independent, Medalie’s short story is “As close to perfect – in my own book – as a short story can be.”

Photo: Chané Mackay

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