Ato Quayson

Ato Quayson’s book Tragedy and Postcolonial Literature was been named the winner of the Warren–Brooks Award 2021 on Thursday, February 3, 2022.

The Warren–Brooks Award for literary criticism is awarded for outstanding literary criticism originally published in English in the United States of America. It is given in those years when a book, or other worthy publication, appears that exemplifies the Warren–Brooks effort in spirit, scope, and integrity. It was established to honor the innovative, critical interpretation of literature offered by Robert Penn Warren and Cleanth Brooks to celebrate the continuation of such achievement.

The winner for this year’s award, selected by a committee of the Robert Penn Warren Circle, is Ato Quayson’s Tragedy and Postcolonial Literature (Cambridge University Press, 2021). The committee was impressed with the book’s study of the ways postcolonial tragedies both engage and transform the traditional concerns of tragedy.

Part of the citation read: “Methodologically, we found Tragedy and Postcolonial Literature to be a study in how scholarship in literary studies is best undertaken.”

Dr. Quayson is the Jean G. and Morris M. Doyle Professor in Interdisciplinary Studies and Professor of English at Stanford. He has published six monographs and eight edited volumes. His monographs include Strategic Transformations in Nigerian Writing (1997), Postcolonialism: Theory, Practice, or Process? (2000), Calibrations: Reading for the Social (2003), Aesthetic Nervousness: Disability and the Crisis of Representation (2007) and Oxford Street, Accra: City Life and the Itineraries of Transnationalism (2014), which was co-winner of the Urban History Association’s 2015 Best Book Prize (non-North America) and was named in The Guardian as one of the 10 Best Books on Cities in 2014.

Those who follow this website will remember his role as the chair of the judging panel for the Etisalat Prize in 2015 which was won by Fiston Mwanza Mujila. Our friends at Brittlepaper also declare him their academic of the year for 2020.