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Goyal, Sana Sanjay (2022) Awarding "Africa": the politics of literary prizes. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The retrospectively realised prompt for this thesis is the 50th anniversary of the Booker Prize in 2018 and the 20th anniversary of the Caine Prize for African Writing, also known as the “African Booker”, in 2019. Raising questions about 21st century reading and prizing cultures and canon formation in the context of the commercial category and continental impulse, “African literature”—and synthesising existing academic scholarship (James F. English; Doseline Kiguru) with conversations taking place in digital and journalistic spaces—it offers new pathways for tracking and tracing, discussing and debating, exploring and exposing the mechanics of major literary prizes. In setting the scene for the politics of major prizes, and specifically the place of African literatures within the literary landscape, it argues that anniversaries and missed opportunities, scandals and rule changes in these prizes’ recent histories can offer room for reflection, reconsideration, remodelling and recovery—with the foreknowledge that these major moments in prizes’ histories will inevitability bear consequence on their personality, trajectory, sustainability, and longevity for years to come. It asks: will the Booker Prize last to make it to a century? Will the Caine Prize for African Writing make it to a half century? How can prestigious prizes continue to remain relevant—and imagine new manifestos, new futures, and, indeed, new ways of prizing literatures?

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses
Supervisors Name: Tania Tribe
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 10 Aug 2022 13:38

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