Author Meron Hadero has become the first Ethiopian author to win the prestigious AKO Caine Prize for African Writing. Her short story “The Street Sweep” was praised by the judges which had a clever twist.
Her winning story is about an Ethiopian boy called Getu, where he navigates the fraught power dynamics of NGOs and foreign aid in Addis Ababa. The story has an emotional side. He faces the pain of losing his ancestral home, and that’s the real driver of the story that makes him take charge and try to re-write that outcome that seems kind of inevitable. What impressed the judges the most was that it was utterly without self-pity which turned the lens away from the usual clichés.
The Ethiopian author Hadero was born in Ethiopia and raised in the US by parents who are medical doctors. She prefers stories of refugees, immigrants and those at risk of being displaced and thinks they are “entry-point emotionally” to her work.
After winning Hadero said in an interview that she is completely thrilled and in “shock” and consider it as an honour for even getting shortlisted. She will take home the prize money of £10,000 ($13,000).