Lesley Nneka Arimah, a Nigerian writer has won the 2019 Caine Prize for African writing with her short story titled “Skinned” defeating authors from Cameroon, Ethiopia and Kenya to win the coveted prize. The short story was published in McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern (Issue 53), 2018.
‘Skinned’ envisions a society in which young girls are ceremonially ‘uncovered’ and must marry in order to regain the right to be clothed. It tells the story of Ejem, a young woman uncovered at the age of fifteen yet ‘unclaimed’ in adulthood, and her attempts to negotiate a rigidly stratified society following the breakdown of a protective friendship with the married Chidinma. With a wit, prescience, and wicked imagination, ‘Skinned’ is a bold and unsettling tale of bodily autonomy and womanhood, and the fault lines along which solidarities are formed and broken.
Dr. Peter Kimani, Chair of Judges on Monday 8 July announced Lesley as the winner of the £10,000 Prize money at an award dinner. The category of Caine Prize won by Arimah is often described as Africa’s leading literary award.
Arimah who lives in Las Vegas, United State of America is a 2019 United States Artists Fellow in Writing.