Literary critic and social media influencer Sarah Ozo-Irabor is the new Director of the AKO Caine Prize for African writing. The news was announced in a press statement published yesterday.
Ozo-Irabor is the founder of the Instagram page and podcast Books & Rhymes. She has made considerable impact on the African literary scene. The press statement notes that “she has been instrumental in opening up transnational conversations on works by writers of African descent, not least through founding Books & Rhymes, a literary podcast that reimagines the transformative power of books and the way music and literature dialogue with each other.”
She has also done a lot to promote African literary culture in the digital sphere, which is why we named her Brittle Paper’s Social Media Influencer of the Year for her use of social media to redefine literature for a new generation of readers. [Read our tribute to her here.] Her new position as the director of one of Africa’s most prestigious literary prizes gives her the opportunity to build on these achievements.
The Chair of the AKO Caine Prize, Ellah P. Wakatama OBE is delighted to have Ozo-Irabor on the team. Commenting on her “passion for literature, her commitment and professionalism,” Wakatama notes that she is “looking forward to seeing what else Sarah will bring to the Prize in her new role as its Director.”
In her remarks about her appointment, Ozo-Irabor says she is ready to hit the ground running:
I am excited to carry out the Prize’s work from this new position and increase visibility for writers of African descent, together with the Chair, the Trustees and Council members. It is a huge honour to be at the front of this journey, and I cannot wait to get started.
This appointment says that the AKO Caine Prize is attentive to the shifts taking place in the African literary scene. Ozo-Irabor’s extensive knowledge of the literary scene, but especially her knowledge of literature within social media and digital culture more broadly, means that she is attuned to the ways in which literary culture is changing. Hopefully, her presence at the AKO Caine Prize will assist the organization in meeting the challenges of the moment.
Congrats to Ozo-Irabor! And congrats to AKO Caine Prize for adding such a talent their team.