Okey Ndibe chairs panel of judges for 2022 AKO Caine Prize

The AKO Caine Prize for African Writing has announced the panel of Judges for the 2022 edition with Nigerian author and award-winning journalist Okey Ndibe as chair.

The other judges, who will be selecting a shortlist of five authors from a total of 349 entries from 27 African countries are: Elisa Diallo, Letlhogonolo Mokgoroane, Àsìkò Okelarin and Angela Wachuka. 

Ndibe has taught at various universities and colleges, including Brown, St. Lawrence, Trinity College, Connecticut College, and the University of Lagos (as a Fulbright scholar), while his award-winning journalism has appeared in major newspapers and magazines in the UK, Italy, South Africa, Nigeria, and the US—where he served on the editorial board of the Hartford Courant.

Diallo, a French-Guinean literary scholar and author based in Frankfurt, Germany, works in publishing as Foreign Rights director and has been on judging panels for several literary prizes, including the newly-founded Resonanzen Literary Festival for Black German Writings. She is the author of two books: Tierno Monenembo, une écriture migrante (Karthala, 2012) and Fille de France (Flammarion, 2019; Berenberg, 2021).

Mokgoroane is the South African co-founder and co-host of The Cheeky Natives – an award-winning literary platform that focuses on archiving and curatorship of Black artistic expressions. Letlhogonolo has gues- lectured at Stellenbosch University, the University of the Witwatersrand, the University of Pretoria, and in 2018, they were named one of the Top 200 Young South Africans.

Okelarin is a London-based Nigerian visual artist who works across photography, film and mixed media. He has exhibited at Rele Gallery in Nigeria, the Gallery of African Art in London, and been featured in The Times, The Guardian, and The Telegraph. He has worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company and has two current exhibitions, ‘Of Myth and Legend’ and ‘The Woman in the Photograph’, on Sloane Street and St James Pavilion, London.

Wachuka, Kenyan founder and managing trustee of Book Bunk, a firm driving the restoration of some of Nairobi’s most iconic public libraries. Wachuka is the former executive director of Kwani Trust, a founding member of the Creative Economy Working Group, and served as Secretary to a National Film Committee appointed by Kenya’s Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts to align proposed film legislation. She was an International Arts Management Fellow at the Kennedy Centre for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, and from 2019 to 2020, she was an Africa Leader at the Obama Foundation.

Okey Ndibe, Chair of Judges, says: “This year’s judges brought passion, discernment and joy to the task. The conversations around the entries were spirited and yet courteous, the judges realizing that – at the end of the day – it was less about our egos and idiosyncratic considerations than about a process to honour creative ferment among writers of African descent. To a person, each judge brought something of immense, even inestimable, value to the difficult challenge of selecting a shortlist of five stories.”

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