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The AKO Caine Prize announced today that it was postponing the 2020 prize ceremony scheduled for June 23 in London.

The prize ceremony, during which the winners of the prize are announced, is one of the highlights of the year in the African literary community. It attracts hundreds of attendees from different parts of the world.

The organizers say they are acting in accordance with “government measures to slow down the spread of Coronavirus.”

Prize chair Ellah P Wakatama, OBE confirms that the postponement of the ceremony will not disrupt the award cycle. Shortlists are still expected to be announced in May.

A new date for the ceremony will be announced.

See the full press release.

Monday 23 March 2020 – After the latest government measures to slow down the spread of Coronavirus, we have taken the difficult decision to postpone the AKO Caine Prize dinner due to take place on Tuesday 23 June to a later more appropriate date, which will be announced as soon as possible.

The current situation is directly impacting all events leading up to our award ceremony, including the judges’ meeting to select a shortlist, and the travel of our as-of-yet unknown shortlisted writers. Traditionally our shortlisted writers come from all over the world.

The ramifications of Covid-19 on our industry remain hard to gauge, and we will be regularly monitoring the latest government advice. We make the safety of our staff, guests and partners our main priority. Close internal discussions with our team, Trustees and Advisory Council Members are taking place to map out our response to this unprecedented situation.

We will strive to keep our readership and supporters abreast of developments in the literary world and we will think creatively to engage with our audience remotely. We are looking at ways to make the AKO Caine Prize literature available online and to provide clear updates on our approach in the coming months. Our social media will remain a place to meet. Shortlisted stories from 2015 onwards can be accessed and enjoyed here.

The AKO Caine Prize is a charity and relies on the support and enthusiasm of its donors. While we put a halt to activities on the ground until further notice, we wish to thank again our benefactors for all the fantastic support we are lucky to receive.

Ellah P Wakatama OBE, Chair of the AKO Caine Prize for African Writing, said: “We are working to ensure the Prize cycle is maintained and we will announce the 2020 shortlist in early May. In the face of this global crisis, people’s health is paramount, and our activities and events will be held online for the foreseeable future. I look forward to meeting supporters on our digital platforms soon.”

We warmly thank you for your support and understanding as we make decisions to protect each other at this difficult time.

We will keep you posted with updates.

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Ainehi Edoro is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she teaches African literature. She received her doctorate at Duke University. She is the founder and editor of Brittle Paper and series editor of Ohio University Press’s Modern African Writer’s imprint.

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