Ellah Allfrey Photo/c.Andy Paradise
Ellah Allfrey Photo/c.Andy Paradise

A few months ago I was in pain. Without an African author on the short or long list of the Booker Prize for 2014 I was left bereft and I put out an appeal to the organisers of this most respected literary prize. I’m not saying my letter had any effect (I believe it had everything to do with it privately of course) but when they announced the list of judges there was a name familiar to many Africa literature watchers; Ellah Allfrey. Allfrey has been described on the Man Booker Prize website as an independent critic, broadcaster and editor.

Ellah Affrey is more than that. She is at the heart of the African literature narrative at the moment. She has edited many of the books that you have been reading about on this blog including Dust by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor and  Africa39: New Writing from Africa South of the Sahara (Bloomsbury, 2014). She is also the deputy chair of the council of the Caine Prize the most talked about prize in African writing at the moment.

An artist's impression of this blogger thanking the people selecting the Booker Prize judges
An artist’s impression of this blogger thanking the people selecting the Booker Prize judges

I am quite chuffed with this new judge as I will now be justified to talk about the prize for the whole year mercilessly. It doesn’t matter if no African is longlisted or shortlisted, although that would be great, as all I need to do henceforth is lead with Ellah in my blogs for a year. My traffic is sorted. Thank you Booker Prize! #BroughtBackMyBookerPrize

P.S. There are other people judging the prize and they include Michael Wood (Chair), Professor Emeritus of English and Comparative Literature at Princeton; John Burnside, prize-winning poet; Sam Leith, author and Literary Editor at The Spectator and Frances Osborne, author and biographer.