The AKO Caine Prize for African Writing has announced the judges for its 2021 edition. Chaired by Ugandan novelist and Founder/Director of the African Writers Trust (AWT) Goretti Kyomuhendo, the panel includes Ugandan-born journalist and BBC World News Presenter Razia Iqbal, Nigerian multimedia artist, photographer and writer Victor Ehikhamenor, Zimbabwean-born independent broadcast journalist Georgina Godwin, and Ugandan poet Nick Makoha.
First awarded in 2000, the AKO Caine Prize seeks to reward the best published short story of up to 15,000 words by African writer. Since its inception, over 20 writers from different parts of the continent have been awarded.
The 2021 judging panel reflects the second time in a row that a previous winner or shortlisted author is not included, as appears to be an unofficial custom of the Caine Prize. Previous winners/finalists who have judged the prize include Brian Chikwava, Helon Habila, Henrietta Rose-Innes and Sefi Atta.
The 2021 edition received 153 submissions from 22 African countries via their new online submissions platform this year, including an entry from Burkina Faso, for the first time.
Commenting on this year’s appointments, Ellah Wakatama OBE, Chair of the AKO Caine Prize, said: “It is a huge pleasure to have such esteemed figures from the arts and literary worlds on our judging panel this year. I am sure their wealth of experience, knowledge and passion for literature, as well as their different perspectives of the arts, will make for lively debate and another exciting shortlist. I am especially pleased that Goretti Kyomuhendo, a literary activist whose work in developing and professionalising the publishing industry has had such a profound effect on the Continent, will be our Chair. I am so pleased that so many authors in Africa and around the globe have engaged fully with our new online submission process, during this period of the pandemic. I wish the judges the very best in selecting the 2021 shortlist, and celebrating the literature of Africa and her Diaspora for another year.”
The judges will meet in May to deliberate on the submissions and a shortlist will be announced soon after.
Learn more about the judges here.