Prize Jury

Margaret Busby (Chair)

Publisher, Writer and Editorial Director of Literary works and of Afro-Caribbean parentage, Busby became since graduation from the Royal Holloway of University of London in the 1960s, the youngest and first black woman publisher in the United Kingdom. She co-founded Allison and Busby Limited and for over twenty years served as its Editorial Director publishing the works of C.L.R. James, Buchi Emecheta, Sam Greenlee, George Lamming, Ishmael Reed, John Edgar, Nuruddin Farah and others. She also became the Editorial Director of Earthscan and published Frantz Fanon and Carolina Maria de Jesus. Busby edited the well-known, Daughters of Africa: An International Anthology of Words and Writing by Women of African Descent (1992); radio and dramatizations include the Radio 4 award- winning play, Minty Alley; works of C.L.R. James, Wole Soyinka, Walter Mosley, and Henry Louis Gates Jr. Stage productions include, Sankofa (1999); Yaa Asantewaa- Warrior Queen (2001-2002). Busby has also written extensively for The Guardian, Independent, Observer, New Statesman and The Times Literary Supplement.

She was awarded the Order of British Empire (OBE) and currently Chair of the Soroptimist International of Leeds Literary Prize, previously chair of The Caine Prize for African Writing, The Orange Prize, The Independent Prize for Foreign Fiction and the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature.

Toyin Falola (Member)

The Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities and University Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Texas, Austin where he had previously been a Distinguished Teaching Professor and the Frances Higginbotham Nalle Centennial Professor in History. He is also the President of the African Studies Association (ASA) of the United States. Falola has published over 100 books including two award winning memoirs, A Mouth Sweeter Than Salt (2004) and Counting the Teeth of the Tiger (2014). Falola is the Series Editor of Rochester Studies in African History and the Diaspora, Culture and Customs of Africa by Greenwood Press, Classic Authors and Texts on Africa by Africa World Press etc. He was the recipient of the Distinguished Africanist Award of the ASA and currently serves as Chair of its Herskovits Prize as well as Member of The M. Klein Book Prize committee for the American Historical Association and The Joel Gregory Prize committee for the Canadian ASA.

Elleke Boehmer (Member)

Professor of World Literature in English at the University of Oxford Faculty of English Language and Literature, Boehmer, a Governing Body Fellow of Wolfson College at Oxford is a Soyinka and Nelson Mandela specialist . She previously taught at St. John’s College of Oxford and is also the Deputy Director of the Oxford Centre for Life-Writing and Co-Convener of Oxford’s TOURCH-funded Race and Resistance in the Long Nineteenth Century Network; was a Hildred Carlile Professor of Literature in English at Royal Holloway, University of London and at the University of Leeds and also Nottingham Trent. She is author of many books including: Postcolonial Literature: Migrant Metaphors (1995); Empire, the National and the Postcolonial, 1890-1920: Resistance in Interaction ( 2002), Nelson Mandela: A Very Brief Introduction (2008) and co-edited J.M. Coetzee in Context and Theory (2009). Her novels and short stories include : Screens against the Sky, An Immaculate Figure, Bloodlines, Nile Baby and Sharmilla and Other Portraits.

Boehmer Co-established in 1988 the Bran Fischer Memorial Lecture Series and in 2009 gave the MM Bhattacharya Endowment Lectures at the University of Calcutta in India.

Boehmer has received many awards, fellowships and grants for her literary work and serves as Judge of the 2014-2015 Man Booker International Prize.

Olu Obafemi

An out-going member of the previous Jury, Olu Obafemi, PhD, has been a Professor of English and Dramatic Literature at the University of Ilorin since 1990. He is a literary scholar, playwright, novelist, poet and theatre Director. A Fellow and Vice President of the Nigerian Academy of Letters (NAL), the Nigerian English Studies Association and the Society of Nigerian Theatre Artist. A former Director of Research at the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru and a past President of the Association of Nigerian Authors and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments. Among his numerous scholarly publications are: Contemporary Nigerian Theatre, Politics and Aesthetics, Ideology and Stage-craft, Cultural Studies; Concepts, Theories and Practice. His play, Ogidi Mandate won the 2011 edition of the ANA/J.P. Clark Prize for Drama. Other plays include, Niara Has No Gender, Nights of a Mystical Beast, Suicide Syndrome, The New Dawn, etc…