Caine Prize quote

JUDGES: 2016

Delia Jarrett-Macauley (Chair)



Delia Jarrett-Macauley (DMS, Ph.D., FRSA) is an accomplished writer, academic and broadcaster with a career spanning over 25 years. Her impressive body of work is held in high regard both nationally and internationally. Delia is also a member of the Caine Prize Council and served as a judge in 2007. She is the author of the literary biography The life of Una Marson 1905-1965, and of the Orwell prize-winning novel Moses, Citizen and Me.












Muthoni Garland



Muthoni Garland has published twenty books for children, two novellas for adults, and several stories published in literary journals and in the anthology, 'Helicopter Beetles,' which is available on Amazon as an e book. She is also a storyteller and has appeared on stage in several countries. Muthoni is a founder member of the writer's collective, Storymoja, which aggressively preaches the gospel of reading for pleasure. Storymoja runs several projects promoting reading among children, including the bi-annual National Read Aloud, which in 2015, broke the world record of people reading from the same text on the same day at the same time. Storymoja also organises the Storymoja Festival in Nairobi.








Robert J. Patterson



Robert J. Patterson is an associate professor of African American studies and English and director of the African American Studies Program at Georgetown University. He is the author of Exodus Politics: Civil Rights and Leadership in African American Literature and Culture (University of Virginia Press 2013), and co-editor of The Psychic Hold of Slavery: Legacies in American Culture (Rutgers University Press 2016). His work appears in South Atlantic Quarterly, Black Camera, Religion and Literature, The Cambridge Companion to African American Women's Writing, the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, and the Cambridge Companion to Civil Rights Literature. He also co-guest-edited a special edition of South Atlantic Quarterly on "Black Literature, Black Leadership." Extending his scholarly interests in the post-civil rights era, black popular culture, and the politics of race and gender, Patterson has begun work on a second book, It's Just Another Sad Love Song: R & B Music and the Politics of Race.







Mary Watson


Mary Watson is the author of Moss (2004), The Cutting Room (2013) and several short stories in anthologies. She won the Caine Prize in 2006. A lapsed academic, Mary did an MA in Creative Writing under the mentorship of André Brink, before completing a doctorate in Film Studies. Born in Cape Town, she currently lives in Ireland. She was a finalist for the Rolex Mentor/Protégé Initiative in 2012, and in 2014 she was included in the Hay Festival's Africa39 list of promising writers under forty.













Adjoa Andoh


Adjoa Andoh is a highly acclaimed and well-established actress of film, television, radio and theatre and is of Ghanaian decent. In 2009, she appeared in the Clint Eastwood movie Invictus as Nelson Mandela's Chief of Staff. She is also a familiar face on British television and has appeared on Doctor Who as Francine Jones and also had a long standing role as Colette Griffiths in Casualty. She is known on the UK stage for lead roles at the RSC, the National Theatre, the Royal Court Theatre and the Almeida Theatre. Andoh is the voice of Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency; she won "Audio Book of the Year" for Tea Time for the Traditionally Built. She has already judged several prizes including the Bafta TV panel, the Carlton Hobbs/ Norman Beaton BBC radio Award, the Susan Blackburn Award, and the Alfred Fagon Award.







JUDGES: 2015

Zoë Wicomb (Chair)



Zoë Wicomb is a South African writer who lives in Scotland where she is Emeritus Professor in English Studies at Strathclyde University. Her critical work is on Postcolonial theory and South African writing and culture. Her works of fiction are You Can’t Get Lost in Cape Town, David’s Story, Playing in the Light, The One That Got Away and October. Wicomb is a recipient of Yale’s 2013 Windham-Campbell Prize for fiction.












Neel Mukherjee


photo credit: Daniel Hart

Neel Mukherjee is the author of the award-winning debut novel, A Life Apart (2010). His second novel, The Lives of Others (2014), was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. He has reviewed fiction widely for a number of UK, Indian and US publications. He lives in London.















Brian Chikwava


photo credit: Clémence Assailly

Brian Chikwava won the Caine Prize in 2004 and is the author of Harare North, published by Jonathan Cape (English, 2009) and Editions Zoe (French, 2011). His short fiction has appeared in anthologies published by Picador, Granta, Weaver Press, Jacana, Umuzi and also been broadcast on BBC Radios 3 and 4 and the BBC World Service.












Zeinab Badawi


Zeinab Badawi is a Sudanese-British television and radio journalist. Her father, prominent Sudanese - Mohammed-Khair El Badawi, was involved in pre-independence politics in Sudan. Badawi is currently the presenter of BBC’s Hard Talk, World Debates and Intelligence Squared Debates.  In 2009 she was awarded International TV Personality of the Year by the Association of International Broadcasters, and in 2011 was named in Powerlist 2012 (published by Powerful Media Ltd) as one of Britain’s top 100 most influential members of the black community.


She is the current Chair of the Royal African Society, a patron of the BBC Media Action (the charitable arm of the BBC), and a former trustee of the National Portrait Gallery. 









Cóilín Parsons


Cóilín Parsons is Assistant Professor of English at Georgetown University, where he teaches Irish literature, modernism, and postcolonial literature and theory. His work on Irish, South African and Indian literature and culture has appeared in such journals as Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies, Victorian Literature and Culture, The Journal of Beckett Studies, Current Writing: Text and Reception in Southern Africa, English Language Notes and elsewhere.


He has recently completed a book manuscript, Mapping Modernity, that examines the entanglement of mapping practices and modernist literature in Ireland.  Cóilín, who is from Ireland, received his PhD in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University. Before joining Georgetown’s English department, he was a Lecturer in English at the University of Cape Town.







JUDGES: 2014

Jackie Kay MBE (Chair)

Jackie Kay
photo credit:
Denise Else

Jackie Kay was born and brought up in Scotland. Her novel The Adoption Papers won the Forward Prize, a Saltire prize and a Scottish Arts Council Prize. Her most recent collection of poems, Fiere, was shortlisted for the Costa award.  Jackie won the Guardian Fiction Award for her novel Trumpet, which was also shortlisted for the IMPAC award. She won the Scottish Book of the Year Award and the London Book Award for Red Dust Road, and the Decibel British Book Award for her book of stories entitled Wish I Was Here.


Jackie’s book for children, Red Cherry Red, won the Clype award and her most recent plays, Manchester Lines (produced by Manchester Library Theatre) and The New Maw Broon Monologues (produced by Glasgay) were a great success. Her most recent book, Reality Reality, is a collection of stories and she is currently working on her new novel, Bystander.


She was awarded an MBE in 2006, made a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2002 and is currently Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University.

Helon Habila

Helon Habila

Helon Habila was born in Nigeria and worked in Lagos as a journalist before moving to England in 2002 for a writing fellowship at the University of East Anglia. In 2001 his short story, “Love Poems”, won the Caine Prize and his first novel, Waiting for an Angel, was published the following year. The novel went on to win the Commonwealth Prize for Best First Novel (Africa Section) in 2003.


In 2005-2006 Helon was the first Chinua Achebe Fellow at Bard College, New York. He stayed on in America as a professor of Creative Writing at George Mason University in Virginia. Helon won the Virginia Library Foundation’s fiction award in 2008 with his novel Measuring Time and Oil on Water was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize (2011) and the Orion Book Award (2012). It was also a runner up for the PEN Open Book Award (2012).


In 2011 Helon edited The Granta Book of the African Short Story. From July 2013 to June 2014 he will be a DAAD fellow in Berlin.

Dr Nicole Rizzuto

Nicole Rizzuto is Assistant Professor of English at Georgetown University.  Her areas of concentration include modernist and contemporary Anglophone literature, with a focus on narratives of Britain, Africa, and the Caribbean.  Her work has appeared in such journals as Contemporary French and Francophone Studies, College Literature, Comparative Literature, and Twentieth Century Literature. She recently completed a book manuscript examining how testimonies to the historical traumas of colonialism shape twentieth-century Anglophone fiction and nonfiction.


Nicole Rizzuto received her PhD from Columbia University in English and Comparative Literature. Before joining Georgetown’s English department, she was Assistant Professor of English at Oklahoma State University.

Gillian Slovo

Gillian Slovo

South African born Gillian Slovo is the author of twelve novels and a family memoir. Her novel Ice Road was shortlisted for the Orange Prize, and Red Dust, which won the RFI Temoin du Monde prize, was made into a film starring Chiwetel Ejiofor and Hilary Swank.


Gillian is also co-author of the verbatim play, Guantanamo - Honor Bound to Defend Freedom, which was staged world wide, as well as the verbatim section for the Tricycle theatre's ‘Women, Power and Politics’ season. Her second play, The Riots, played in the Tricycle theatre and Bernie Grant Arts Centre. Gillian is also a former President of English PEN.

Percy Zvomuya

Percy Zvomuya is a Zimbabwean journalist, football fan and critic. He is a co-founder of The Con Magazine, a Johannesburg writing collective. His writing has appeared in various publications including, Mail & Guardian, The Sunday Times (South Africa) and Chimurenga.  He is working on a biography of Robert Mugabe. He is a Miles Morland fellow and Wiser-Duke fellow.


JUDGES: 2013

Gus Casely-Hayford (Chair)

Gus Casely-Hayford

Dr Gus Casely-Hayford is an art historian and broadcaster, currently holding the position of Research Associate at SOAS. After completing his PhD in African history, Gus proceeded to teach a number of degree and MA courses in international culture. In addition to his responsibilities at SOAS, Gus is a consultant to the Kings Cultural Institute, a member of Tate Britain Council and a Trustee of the National Portrait Gallery. He has presented in television and radio and written widely on African culture. His second Lost Kingdoms of Africa series was broadcast on the BBC in early 2012. Gus was the director of Africa05 and has advised high-profile institutions such as the United Nations and the Canadian, Dutch and Norwegian Arts Councils and the Tate Gallery.

Sokari Douglas Camp

Sokari Douglas Camp

Sokari Douglas Camp was born in Buguma, Rivers State, Nigeria and was sent to boarding school in Britain as a child. She studied fine art at Central School of Art and Design and the Royal College of Art. She has had more than 40 solo shows worldwide, and has work in permanent collections at The Smithsonian Museum, Washington D.C., Setagaya Museum, Tokyo and the British Museum, London. In 2005 she became an Honorary Fellow of University of the Arts London and was awarded a CBE in recognition of her services to art. Last year Otobo (hippopotamus) masquerade figure (2005) was selected as the number one artifact from the British Museum's permanent collection to represent London - A World City in 20 Objects. In 2012, All the World is Richer Now, a memorial to commemorate the abolition of slavery, was exhibited in The House of Commons.

Nathan Hensley

Nathan Hensley

Nathan K. Hensley is Assistant Professor of English at Georgetown University, where his work and teaching focus on nineteenth-century British literature, critical theory, and the novel. His current book manuscript, "Forms of Empire: The Poetics of Victorian Sovereignty," examines how literary technologies like the realist novel and the lyric poem make evident the role of violence in liberal empires. His critical articles have appeared in Victorian Studies, Novel: A Forum on Fiction, and a collection, The Politics of Gender in Anthony Trollope's Novels: New Readings for the Twenty-First Century. Hensley holds degrees from Vassar College (B.A.), the University of Notre Dame (M.A.), and Duke (Ph.D), where he was also a Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellow. He was born and raised in Fresno, California.

John Sutherland

john  Sutherland

John Sutherland is Lord Northcliffe Professor Emeritus at UCL. In a long career in Britain and America, John has written many books (most recently Lives of the Novelists: a History of Fiction in 294 Lives) and has judged a number of literary prizes including the James Tait Black, the Booker, the Man Booker, and the Encore. He believes that, in the huge profusion of published literature at the present time, prizes have a necessary and highly useful function in raising quality and discrimination. And, in the case of the Caine Prize, directing attention to areas of creativity which have, in the past, been shamefully neglected.

Leila Aboulela

Leila  Aboulela

Leila Aboulela won the first Caine Prize for African Writing in 2000. Leila adapted her winning story The Museum for Radio 4. BBC radio has adapted her work extensively and broadcast a number of her plays including The Mystic Life and the historical drama The Lion of Chechnya. Her third novel Lyrics Alley, was published in January 2010 by Weidenfeld Nicolson. Set in 1950s Sudan, Lyrics Alley is the Fiction Winner of the Scottish Book Awards. It was long-listed for the Orange Prize and short-listed for a Regional Commonwealth Writers' Prize. Leila grew up in Khartoum and has lived much of her adult life in Scotland.


JUDGES: 2012

Bernardine Evaristo (Chair)

Bernardine Evaristo is the author of six books of fiction and poetry and the editor of two recent anthologies and a special issue of Wasafiri: Black Britain:-Beyond Definition. Her book reviews appear in the Times, Guardian and Independent and she teaches creative writing at Brunel University. She has received and judged several literary awards, is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the Royal Society of Arts and she was made an MBE in 2009.

Nima Elbagir

Nima Elbagir is an award-winning International Correspondent for CNN. She has led CNN's coverage from Somalia at the height of the Horn of Africa famine; she was granted an exclusive phone interview whilst in Tripoli with Safia Gadhafi, the former Libyan leader's wife; following the revolution in Egypt, Elbagir interviewed the Justice Minister Mohamed Abdelaziz al-Juindy, who called for former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to face the death penalty; she reported from South Sudan as the new African country celebrated independence, and she has been at the forefront of CNN's coverage of the growing violence led by Islamic militancy in Nigeria.

Maya Jaggi

Maya Jaggi is an award-winning cultural journalist and an influential critic on international literature, who writes for the Guardian, the Economist and Newsweek among other publications, and contributes to BBC radio. She has interviewed 12 Nobel prizewinners in literature and been a judge of literary awards including the Orange prize, the David Cohen prize, the Commonwealth Writers prize, the Guardian fiction prize, the Saif Ghobash-Banipal prize for Arabic literary translation, and the Harvill Secker/Foyles Young Translator's prize. She previously served as a judge in 2006.

Samantha Pinto

Samantha Pinto is Assistant Professor of English at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, where she teaches African literature, African American literature, postcolonial theory, gender and sexuality studies. She is currently writing a book on race, gender, and literary aesthetics in 20th century African Diaspora writing entitled Difficult Diasporas: Reading Aesthetics in Transnational Feminist and Black Atlantic Thought. She is the recipient of an NEH Enduring Questions grant on comparative notions of equality and justice in Africa and the West, and a postdoctoral fellowship in African and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas. She previously served as a judge in 2010.

Chirikure Chirikure

Chirikure Chirikure is a performance poet and cultural consultant. He is a graduate of the University of Zimbabwe and an Honorary Fellow of Iowa University, USA. He worked with one of Zimbabwe's leading publishing houses as an editor and publisher for 17 years, until 2002. His book, Hakurarwi - We Shall not Sleep, was selected as one of the 75 Best Zimbabwean Books of the 20th Century and received a prize as one of the best five Shona publications of the 20th Century. He currently lives in Berlin, Germany, as a fellow under the 2011/12 DAAD Berliner Kunstlerprogramm (Artists in Berlin Programme).

JUDGES: 2011

Hisham Matar (Chair)

Hisham Matar is a Libyan novelist. His first novel, In the Country of Men, was shortlisted for the 2006 Man Booker Prize, the Guardian First Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award in the US. It won six international literary awards and has been translated into twenty-eight languages. Matar's articles and essays have appeared in Alsharq Alawsat, The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times, El Pais and the New Statesman. His second novel Anatomy of a Disappearance will be published in March by Viking.

Ellah Allfrey

Ellah Allfrey is deputy editor of Granta magazine. She has published many distinguished African writers including Ngugi wa Thiongo, Chinua Achebe, Brian Chikwava, Peter Akinti, Dinaw Mengestu and Yaba Badoe.

Aminatta Forna

Aminatta Forna's most recent novel The Memory of Love was selected as one of the Best Books of the 2010 by the Sunday Telegraph, the Financial Times and The Times. Her previous novel Ancestor Stones won the Hurston Wright Legacy Award for Debut Fiction, the Aidoo-Snyder Book Prize, the Liberaturpreis in Germany and was nominated for the International Dublin IMPAC Award. The Devil that Danced on the Water, a memoir of her dissident father was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize and serialised on BBC Radio. Aminatta is a trustee of the Royal Literary Fund and sits on the advisory committee of the Caine Prize for African Writing. She has previously acted as judge for the Samuel Johnson Prize and the Macmillan Prize.

David Gewanter

David Gewanter is a professor of English literature at Georgetown University. He is author of three books of poetry, In the Belly, The Sleep of Reason and most recently War Bird. He is co-editor of Robert Lowell: Collected Poems, and has received awards from the Academy of American Poets, the US Library of Congress, and The English Speaking Union (US).

Vicky Unwin

Vicky Unwin was Publisher of Heinemann's African Writers Series for eight years in the late 1980s and early 90s, and published many of the greatest names in African literature. She has worked in Africa for most of her life, latterly as Media Director for the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development, responsible for the Kenya-based Nation Media Group. She is Chairman of Art First, a contemporary gallery in London, but lives in Geneva, where she writes on film and travel, and is researching a book about her family.

JUDGES: 2010

Fiammetta Rocco (Chair)
Fiammetta Rocco is a third-generation Kenyan. She was educated at Oxford University where she read Arabic. Her investigative journalism has won awards on both sides if the Atlantic. She is now the literary editor of The Economist and the author of "The Miraculous Fever Tree: The Cure that Changed the World".

Ellah Allfrey
Ellah Allfrey is deputy editor of Granta magazine. She was previously Senior Editor at Jonathan Cape, Random House, having started her publishing career at Penguin Books. She has published many distinguished African writers including Ngugi wa Thiongo and Chinua Achebe (in Penguin Modern Classics) as well as Brian Chikwava, Peter Akinti, Dinaw Mengestu and Yaba Badoe.

Jon Cook
Jon Cook is a Professor of Literature and Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at the University of East Anglia. He has written a number of books of criticism and biography, including, most recently, Hazlitt in Love published in 2007. He has worked with a number of former Caine Prize winners during their time as fellows or students at UEA and has been closely involved in the development of creative writing at the University over a number of years. He is a member of the Arts Council.

Samantha Pinto
Samantha Pinto is an Assistant Professor at the University of Georgetown in Washington DC. She has written on women's issues, Caribbean sexuality and African American literature, and teaches courses on African writing, sexuality and Global cultural studies among other subjects.

Judges: 2009

Nana Yaa Mensah (Chair),
New Statesman chief sub-editor

Professor Jon Cook,
Professor of literature at the University of East Anglia

Jennifer Natalya Fink,
Novelist and Georgetown University professor

Hannah Pool,
Guardian journalist and author

Mohammed Umar,
Nigerian novelist, journalist and bookseller

Judges: 2008

Jude Kelly (Chair),
Artistic Director at the South Bank Centre

Jonty Driver,
South African poet and novelist

Hisham Matar,
Libyan author

Mark McMorris,
Jamaican poet and professor of English at Georgetown University

Hannah Pool,
Guardian journalist and author

Judges: 2007

Jamal Mahjoub (Chair),
Award winning British-Sudanese author

Jonty Driver,
South African poet and novelist

Dr Wangui wa Goro,
Academic, critic and writer

Delia Jarrett-Macauley,
Award winning novelist

Robert Molteno,
Former Zed Books managing editor

Judges: 2006

Dr Nana Wilson-Tagoe (Chair),
Senior lecturer in African Literature at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)

Aminatta Forna
Broadcaster, journalist and author

Maya Jaggi,
Award winning cultural journalist

Dr Mpalive Msiska,
Lecturer in National and International literature, University of London

Judges: 2005

Baroness Lola Young (Chair),
Writer, cultural critic, public speaker and broadcaster

Victoria Arana,
Professor of English at Howard University in the US

Aminatta Forna,
Broadcaster, journalist and author

Romesh Gunesekera,
Sri Lankan author

Dr Nana Wilson-Tagoe,
Senior lecturer in African literature at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)

Judges: 2004

Alvaro Ribeiro (Chair),
Associate professor of English at Georgetown University, Washington DC

Biyi Bandele,
Nigerian playwright

Bernice Rubens,
Booker Prize-winning novelist

Anna Umbima,
Broadcaster and journalist

Dr Nana Wilson-Tagoe,
Senior lecturer in African Literature at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)

Judges: 2003

Abdulrazak Gurnah (Chair),
Novelist and professor of Literature at the University of Kent

Shirley Chew,
Professor of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Literatures at the University of Leeds

John Sutherland,
Lord Northcliffe Professor Emeritus of Modern English Literature at University College London

Dr Nana Wilson-Tagoe,
Senior lecturer in African Literature at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)

Judges: 2002

Dr Ahdaf Soueif (Chair),
Egyptian author

Margaret Busby,
Ghanaian author, publisher, journalist and broadcaster

Jason Cowley,
New Statesman editor

Abdulrazak Gurnah,
Novelist and professor of Literature at the University of Kent

Judges: 2001

Dan Jacobson (Chair),
South African novelist and critic

JM Coetzee,
South African Booker Prize-winning author

Jason Cowley,
New Statesman editor

Buchi Emecheta,
Nigerian author

Véronique Tadjo,
Writer and academic from Côte d'Ivoire

Judges: 2000

Ben Okri (Chair),
Nigerian Poet and Booker Prize-winning author

Alvaro Ribeiro,
Associate professor of English at Georgetown University, Washington DC

William Boyd,
Award winning author

Véronique Tadjo,
Writer and academic from Côte d'Ivoire