Judges

2022

Karen Jennings

Karen Jennings is a South African author. Her debut novel, Finding Soutbek, was shortlisted for the inaugural Etisalat Prize for African Fiction. In 2014, her short story collection, Away from the Dead, was longlisted for the Frank O’Connor International short story competition. Her memoir, Travels with my Father, was published in 2016, and in 2018 she released her debut poetry collection, Space Inhabited by Echoes. Her historical mining novel, Upturned Earth, was published in 2019, followed in 2020 by An Island, which was published by Holland House Books and longlisted for the 2021 Booker Prize.


Fayssal Bensalah

Fayssal Bensalah is a twenty-seven-year-old Algerian writer who writes in English. He was born and raised in Algeria. He was educated at Constantine 1 University (C1U) and graduated with an MA degree in Anglophone Literature. He is currently finishing his PhD in creative writing at Cardiff University, UK, where he also works as a creative writing tutor. He is the winner of the 2020 Toyin Falola Prize. He now devotes himself to publishing his first book.  


2021

Nerine Dorman

Nerine Dorman is a South African author and editor of science fiction and fantasy currently living in Cape Town, with short fiction published in numerous anthologies. Her YA fantasy novel Dragon Forged was a finalist in the 2017 Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature, and she is the curator of the South African Horrorfest Bloody Parchment event and short story competition. Her short story “On the Other Side of the Sea” (Omenana, 2017) was shortlisted for a 2018 Nommo award. Her novella The Firebird won a Nommo for “Best Novella” in 2019, and her novel Sing down the Stars won Gold for the Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature in 2019. In addition, she is a founding member of the SFF authors’ co-operative Skolion.


Dr. Akwasi Aidoo

Dr. Akwasi Aidoo is a philanthropy professional, poet, and human rights and peace advocate.  He is Senior Fellow at Humanity United, a US Foundation dedicated to building peace and enhancing human rights around the world. Prior to that, Dr. Aidoo was the founding Executive Director of TrustAfrica, an African Foundation that supports work on democratic governance and equitable development across the Continent. His previous roles include head of the health sciences program of the International Development Research Center’s office for West and Central Africa, Director of Ford Foundation’s West Africa office, and Director of Ford Foundation’s Special Initiative for Africa. In the 1970s and 1980s, Dr. Aidoo taught at universities in Ghana, Tanzania, and the United States. Dr. Aidoo was educated in Ghana and the United States and received a Ph.D. in medical sociology from the University of Connecticut in 1985.


2020

Mukoma wa Ngugi

Mukoma wa Ngugi is an Associate Professor of English at Cornell University and the author of The Rise of the African Novel: Politics of Language, Identity and Ownership, the novels Mrs. Shaw, Black Star Nairobi, Nairobi Heat, and two books of poetry, Logotherapy and Hurling Words at Consciousness. A new novel, We Sing the Tizita to Unbury Our Dead is forthcoming. Some of his works have been translated into German, Turkish and French. He is the co-founder of the Mabati-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature. In 2013, New African Magazine named him one of the 100 most Influential Africans. In 2015, he was a juror for the Writivism Short Story Prize and the Neustadt International Prize for Literature. He co-edited with Prof. Laura Murpohy, a Special Issue of New Orleans Review titled The African Literary Hustle. For more information, please visit www.mukomawangugi.com.


Abimbola Adunni Adelakun

Abimbola Adunni Adelakun teaches in the African/African Diaspora Department, the University of Texas at Austin. She researches modern African culture as they are lived and performed through the trans-disciplinary lenses of performance, gender, Africana, and Yoruba studies. Abimbola is the author of the novel, Under the Brown Rusted Roofs (Kraft Books). She also writes a weekly column, Thursdays with Abimbola Adelakun, for PUNCH Newspapers.