The Ako Caine Prize Chair Ellah P. Wakatama OBE signed a statement affirming the institution’s unwavering support for inclusivity and equality.

At a time when racism and transphobia, homophobia, and sexism are at the forefront of conversations about equality, The Caine Prize takes a stand against any attempt to stifle the voices of African writers.

Read the full statement below.

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Equality Statement: AKO Caine Prize for African Writing

As we approach the announcement of the 2020 Winner of the AKO Caine Prize for African Writing, celebrating the best short stories as chosen by our panel of judges, we find ourselves in a world in turmoil, flux and increasing polarisation.  Our creative community and the wider society are engaged in the discussion of important issues of race, discrimination, gender, identity, and equality – issues often embraced by our writers’ stories. These are important conversations and it is a time to affirm values we hold close.

We at the AKO Caine Prize stand firmly on the side of equality. The AKO Caine Prize is here to support writers of African descent, to amplify their voices and to bring new readers to their works. In doing so, we are committed to the active support of all African writers regardless of their sexuality, gender or gender identity and expression. As a continent of people who have too often been defined by others, we affirm the paramount importance of the individual’s right to name themselves and to be called by their own name. Our commitment is to equality of opportunity and respect for the individual. These are values to which we as staff, trustees and members of the Advisory Council seek to promote. You will see, from our past winners and our current shortlist, that this commitment is one we actively express through the medium of our writers’ telling of stories and the wide and diverse range of characters around which these stories are woven.

We invite you to join us as we celebrate the multiplicity of lives and experiences our writers have imagined.

The Winner of the 2020 AKO Caine Prize for African Writing will be announced on 27 July. Read the shortlist here.

Ellah P. Wakatama OBE
Chair of the AKO Caine Prize for African Writing