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Ellah Wakatama Allfrey, OBE. Photographed by Charlie Hopkinson at Rye Books, London.

Ellah Wakatama Allfrey has joined UK publishing house Canongate as editor-at-large for fiction. This is the powerfully influential editor and critic’s second major new role this year, after being named chair of the Caine Prize in April. The Zimbabwean Allfrey, who until recently was Publishing Director of The Indigo Press and chief judge for the Miles Morland Writing Scholarships, will begin work next week in Canongate’s London office, according to The Bookseller.

Reporting to publishing director Francis Bickmore and starting on 18th June, Allfrey will have an open commissioning brief with an emphasis on the fiction. This part-time role, consisting of 2.5 days a week, represents an expansion of Canongate’s editorial team, taking its acquiring editorial team up to five members.

Commenting on her new position, Allfrey said: “This is a wonderful opportunity to be part of a team that has, over time, published with such great flair and innovation. I am excited to be joining Canongate and to have such an inspiring brief—to contribute to a list that reflects range, ambition, passion and a genuine belief in the power of writing to enrich and inform.”

Bickmore stated: “Ellah is the best of the best when it comes to commissioning and editing. We are thrilled that she is joining Canongate. We need books that look beyond the horizon if we are to understand the challenging ways in which the world is changing, and those are the books that Ellah has found instinctively for more than two decades. I can’t wait to see which writers she champions first.”

Ellah Wakatama Allfrey, OBE, was former deputy editor of Granta magazine and senior editor at Jonathan Cape, Random House. A judge for the 2017 Dublin International Literary Award and the 2015 Man Booker Prize, she edited the Africa39 and Safe House: Explorations in Creative Nonfiction anthologies. Allfrey’s work has appeared in the TelegraphGuardian and Observer newspapers, and in Spectator, The Griffith Review, an in the New Daughters of Africa anthology. Her essay, “When We Talk About Kintu,” was a finalist for the 2017 Brittle Paper Award for Essays. Allfrey is a trustee of The Royal Literary Fund and the Jalada African Writers’ Collective and sits on the advisory board for Art for Amnesty and the Editorial Advisory Panel of The Johannesburg Review of Books. In 2016, she was Visiting Professor and Global and Intercultural Scholar at Goshen College, Indiana and Guest Master at the Gabriel Garcia Marquez Fellowship in Cartagena, Colombia.

Allfrey can be reached on ellah@canongate.co.uk.

This is major excitement on our part. Brittle Paper congratulates Ellah Wakatama Allfrey.

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About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young is Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. He is a judge for the 2018/19 Gerald Kraak Prize and the 2019 Miles Morland Writing Scholarships. He is an editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective, which has published volumes including We Are Flowers (2017) and The Inward Gaze (2018). He is the curator of the Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies of writing and visual art focusing on different aspects of Nigerianness, including Enter Naija: The Book of Places (2016), which explores cities, and Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (2017), which explores professions. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition. He has completed a collection of short stories, You Sing of a Longing, is working on a novel, and is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He attended the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where he got an M.A. in African Studies and a combined honours B.A. in History & International Studies and English & Literary Studies. He taught English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts writing and editing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze. When bored, he Googles Rihanna.

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