Liberian author Robtel Neajai Pailey has won the 2023 Pius Adesanmi Memorial Award for Excellence in African Writing. Her winning book is Development, (Dual) Citizenship and Its Discontents in Africa: The Political Economy of Belonging to Liberia (2021).

The African Studies Association of Africa (ASAA) established the Pius Adesanmi Memorial Award for Excellence in African Writing in honor of Professor Pius Adesanmi, a Nigerian-born, Canada-based scholar who passed away in 2019. The Award honors an outstanding single-authored book focused on Africa and/or the global African world biennially. The winner of the award receives a cash prize, a plaque in recognition of their achievement, and lifetime membership to the ASAA.

Pailey announced the news on her Twitter, thrilled about winning this prestigious award:

Pailey’s winning book draws on oral histories from over 200 in-depth interviews in West Africa, Europe, and North America to examine socio-economic change in Liberia, Africa’s first black republic, through the prism of citizenship. Marking how policy changes and contemporary public discourse on dual citizenship have impacted development policy and practice, she reveals that as Liberia transformed from a country of immigration to one of emigration, so too did the nature of citizenship, thus influencing claims for and against dual citizenship.

Robtel Neajai Pailey is Assistant Professor in International Social and Public Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). A Liberian academic, activist, and author, she was previously Mo Ibrahim Foundation PhD Scholar at SOAS, University of London, and Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Oxford. Her core areas of research and policy expertise include the political economy of development, migration, race, citizenship, conflict, post-war recovery, and governance.

Congrats to Pailey!