The AKO Caine Prize announces its 2020 judges

The AKO Caine Prize for African Writing has announced its panel of judges for 2020. Having marked its 20th anniversary last year, the AKO Caine Prize is looking forward to a new decade of exploring and recognising exceptional African literature.

This year’s Chair of Judges is director of the Africa Centre, Kenneth Olumuyiwa Tharp CBE. A prominent figure in the cultural sphere, Kenneth was made a CBE in recognition of his services to dance, which included working with the London Contemporary Dance Theatre. As a passionate champion of the arts, he brings a welcome diversity of experience to the judging panel.

Kenneth will be joined on the panel by Audrey Brown, a South African journalist with BBC Africa in London; Gabriel Gbadamosi, a poet, playwright and essayist who won the Tibor Jones Pageturner Prize in the Best International Novel category for Vauxhall, published in 2013; Kenyan journalist James Murua, whose prominent blog publishes news and reviews from the African literary scene; and Ebissé Wakjira-Rouw, a Dutch-Ethiopian editor currently working at the Council for Culture, where she advises the Dutch Parliament on arts, culture and media.

Commenting on the 2020 panel, Ellah Wakatama OBE, Chair of the AKO Caine Prize, said:

“We are honoured to announce such remarkable cultural figures as our 2020 AKO Caine Prize judges. I’m sure that, with his wealth of experience across art forms, Kenneth Tharp will make an excellent Chair, and I wish all the judges great success in deciding our 2020 shortlist and, ultimately, in judicating this year’s winning story.”

The judging panel will meet to determine which entries will make the shortlist, with an announcement on their selection to be published in May 2020.

Notes to Editors:

The AKO Caine Prize for African Writing, awarded annually for African creative writing, is named after the late Sir Michael Caine, former Chairman of Booker plc and Chairman of the Booker Prize management committee for nearly 25 years. Its main sponsor is the AKO Foundation, whose primary focus is the making of grants to projects which promote the arts and improve education.

Increasingly, the Foundation aims to help start up, and be the catalyst for, new charitable projects which otherwise could not have been realised. The Foundation also takes pride in having a very lean structure so that it can make fast decisions, proving an invaluable ally for the Prize.

The Prize is awarded for a short story by an African writer published in English (indicative length 3,000 to 10,000 words). An African writer is taken to mean someone who was born in Africa, or who is a national of an African country, or who has a parent who is African by birth or nationality. Works translated into English from other languages are not excluded, provided they have been published in translation, and should such a work win, a proportion of the prize would be awarded to the translator.

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