Peter Kimani will chair the panel of the Caine Prize for African Writing 2019 judges in an announcement made on December 19, 2018. He will be joined by Sefi Atta, Margie Orford, Olufemi Terry, and Scott Taylor.
The Caine Prize for African Writing is one of the most influential awards in African writing. The Prize is awarded for a short story (3,000 to 10,000 words) by an African writer published in English. The prize has recognised some of the most famous names in our industry today like Leila Aboulela, Helon Habila, Yvonne Adhiambo Owour, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Noviolet Bulawayo and more. In recent times, winners of the prize have been Makena Onjerika (2018), Bushra al-Fadil (2017), Lidudumalingani Mqombothi (2016), Namwali Serpell (2015), Okwiri Oduor (2014), and Tope Folarin (2013).
The judges who will be selecting the winner of the 2019 edition of the prize have been announced. Serving as the Chair of Judges is Kenyan author Dr Peter Kimani, whose 2017 novel Dance of the Jakaranda was named as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and was nominated for the Hurston-Wright Legacy Awards 2018.
He will be joined on the judging panel by Sefi Atta, Nigerian author and playwright shortlisted for the 2006 Caine Prize; Margie Orford, acclaimed author hailed as the “queen of South African crime-thriller writers”; Olufemi Terry, Sierra Leone-born author and winner of the 2010 Caine Prize; and Scott Taylor, professor, and director of the African Studies Program at Georgetown University, USA.
Here are the profiles of the judges.
Peter Kimani began his career as a journalist and is the author of several works of poetry and prose, including 2017’s internationally acclaimed Dance of the Jakaranda. Kimani has toured the African continent extensively as a reporter, covering conflicts from Darfur to Somalia, and documenting reconstruction efforts in South Sudan and Somaliland. A former senior editor at The Standard, Kimani has also appeared in The Guardian, The New African, Sky News, and the Daily Nation. He was awarded a doctorate in Creative Writing and Literature from the University of Houston in 2014, and currently teaches at the Aga Khan University’s Graduate School of Media and Communications in Nairobi.
Sefi Atta is the author of Everything Good Will Come (2005), a winner of the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa; News from Home (2010), Swallow (2010), A Bit of Difference (2013), Drama Queen (2018), and the forthcoming The Bead Collector (2019) and Sefi Atta: Selected Plays (2019). She was a juror for the Neustadt International Prize for Literature 2010, and her short story The Last Trip was shortlisted for the 2006 Caine Prize. Her radio plays have been broadcast by the BBC and her stage plays have been performed and published internationally.
Margie Orford is an internationally acclaimed writer and award-winning journalist. Her Clare Hart novels, including Like Clockwork (2006), Blood Rose (2006), Gallows Hill (2011), Daddy’s Girl (2009), and Water Music (2013) have been translated into more than 10 languages. She is a member of the executive board of PEN International and patron of Rape Crisis, and writes regularly about crime, gender violence, politics, and freedom of expression.
Olufemi Terry is a freelance writer, essayist, and journalist based in Washington D.C. He won the 2010 Caine Prize for African Writing for his story Stickfighting Days, hailed by then Chair of Judges Fiametta Rocco as “ambitious, brave and hugely imaginative”. His fiction and poetry have appeared in Guernica, Blipmagazine, New Contrast, and the New Internationalist ‘One World Two’ global anthology of short stories.
Scott Taylor is professor and director of the African Studies Program in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, USA. He is the author of four books: Politics in Southern Africa: Transition and Transformation (2011); Culture and Customs of Zambia (2006); Business and the State in Southern Africa: The Politics of Economic Reform (2007); and Globalization and the Cultures of Business in Africa: From Patrimonialism to Profit (2012).
Commenting on the 2019 panel, Chair of the Caine Prize, Dr Delia Jarrett-Macauley, said, “We are privileged to benefit from such an esteemed panel of judges, and it is fitting that they will have the honour of deciding the winner of the 20th Caine Prize. I am sure Peter Kimani will make an excellent Chair, and I wish all the judges every success in deciding our shortlist in 2019”.
The deadline for submissions to the 2019 Caine Prize is 31 January.
The shortlist will be announced in May 2019 followed by the July 8 winner announcement.