Olufemi Terry

The Sierra Leonean writer Olufemi Terry has been named the winner of this year’s Caine Prize for African writing (follow the link to read all the shortlisted stories.) His winning short story is the frankly amazing Stickfighting Days (the link takes you to a pdf of the story) which is a bleak but absolutely compelling story told from the perspective of a young boy, Raul, who lives on a dump and has a proud reputation for fighting other boys with sticks. I heard an interview with Terry on the BBC World Service in which he said he spoke out against a concept of ‘authenticity’ in African writing and he’s right. This is powerful writing whatever continent the author was born on. I can’t remember a short story that’s made such an impression on me.

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