Okey Ndibe will chair the Caine Prize for African Writing 2022 panel of judges as announced today, May 27, 2022. The others are Elisa Diallo, Letlhogonolo Mokgoroane, Angela Wachuka, and Àsìkò Okelarin.
The AKO Caine Prize for African Writing is awarded annually to an African writer published in English for a short story. The prize has recognised some of the most famous writers working today as winners or shortlistees like Leila Aboulela, Helon Habila, Yvonne Adhiambo Owour, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Noviolet Bulawayo and more. In recent times, winners of the prize have been Meron Hadero (2021), Irenosen Okojie (2020), Lesley Nneka Arimah (2019), Makena Onjerika (2018), Bushra al-Fadil (2017), Lidudumalingani Mqombothi (2016), Namwali Serpell (2015), Okwiri Oduor (2014), and Tope Folarin (2013).
The prize has announced the judging panel with Okey Ndibe leading the jury. He said on the announcement; “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 honor 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.”
Here is information about this year’s jurors;
Nigerian author and award-winning journalist Okey 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.
Elisa Diallo, is a French-Guinean literary scholar, and author based in Frankfurt, Germany. Diallo 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).
Letlhogonolo 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 guest 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.
Angela Wachuka is the 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.
Àsìkò 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.
The Judges will select a shortlist of five authors from a total of 349 entries from 27 African countries who will be revealed later in the month. The Judges will then meet in person in July to select a winner from the five shortlisted authors, who will be announced in an award ceremony held in London on Monday 18th July 2022.
Each writer shortlisted for the AKO Caine Prize will be awarded £500, and the winner will receive a £10,000 prize. If a work in translation is chosen as the winning story, the prize will be shared between the author and the translator.