Caine Prize: ‘Your Brilliance Has Brought Pride and Glory to Nigeria’, Africa, Buhari Congratulates Lesley

  • ‘Skinned’ envisions a society in which young girls are ceremonially ‘uncovered.
  • The president commends Lesley’s depth of insight and skilfulness in bringing up the issue of women inclusiveness.

President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated Nigerian writer, Lesley Nneka Arimah, for winning 2019 Caine Prize for African Writing.

The Presidency in a statement signed by Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity felicitated with Arima for her feat.

“President Buhari felicitates with the writer for the literary masterpiece, “Skinned’’, that won the award, commending her for the depth of insight and skilfulness in bringing up the issue of women inclusiveness, which continues to occupy the minds of leaders across the world, especially in Africa.

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“The President believes Arimah’s award, with a book focused on empowering women, creates another platform for discussions and actions on a topical issue of development that every government must take seriously.”

The president also rejoiced with family and friends of the prolific writer, affirming that her brilliance has brought pride and glory to the country, and the continent.

The Caine Prize is often described as Africa’s leading literary award,.

Lesley emerged winner of the award for her short story entitled “Skinned”, published McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern (Issue 53) 2018.

She was announced the winner of the £10,000 prize at an award dinner this evening by Dr. Peter Kimani, Chair of Judges at the ceremony held for the third time in Senate House, in partnership with SOAS and the Centre for African Studies.

Her work, ‘Skinned’ which envisions a society in which young girls are ceremonially ‘uncovered’ and must marry in order to regain the right to be clothed 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.

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“The winner of this year’s Caine Prize for African Writing is a unique retake of women’s struggle for inclusion in a society regulated by rituals. Lesley Nneka Arimah’s Skinned defamiliarizes the familiar to topple social hierarchies, challenge traditions and envision new possibilities for women of the world. Using a sprightly diction, she invents a dystopian universe inhabited by unforgettable characters where friendship is tested, innocence is lost, and readers gain a new understanding of life,” Kimani said before presenting the prize to her.

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