Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Obi-Young, Wakatama lead panel of judges for fourth Gerald Kraak Anthology and Prize

This unique prize calls for multi-layered, brave and stirring African voices that represent a new wave of fresh storytelling.

• December 2, 2020
Gerald Kraak Prize judges 2020-21. L-R, Otosirieze Obi-Young (head judge), Ellah Wakatama, and Mark Gevisser

The Jacana Literary Foundation, in partnership with the Other Foundation, is delighted and honoured to welcome Ellah Wakatama to the panel of judges that will adjudicate the 2020/2021 Gerald Kraak Anthology and Prize. She will judge alongside head judge Otosirieze Obi-Young and Mark Gevisser.

“It’s a rare privilege to have Ellah join this brilliant team,” Maggie Davey, publishing director of Jacana Media and chair of the Jacana Literary Foundation.

“As one of the most influential editors in publishing, Ellah Wakatama has worked tirelessly to open doors for African writers at publishing houses, magazines, and awards. We are privileged to have her bring her unique set of experiences and ideas to the specific work that the Gerald Kraak Prize does, not only in sharing feminist and LGBTQI+ perspectives but in introducing new writers to the scene.” – Otosirieze Obi-Young, head judge of the 2020/2021 Gerald Kraak Award and Anthology.

“From Booker shortlistees to new voices, Ellah Wakatama has championed and mentored a generation of African writers, and has been awarded an OBE for these efforts. Deeply rooted in African literature and politics herself, she has impeccable judgment, and a deep commitment to African literature. I am thrilled at her appointment and the prospect of working with her on the Kraak Anthology and Prize.”–MarkGevisser, judge for the 2020/2021 Gerald Kraak Award and Anthology.

Created in honour of the late activist Gerald Kraak’s extraordinary legacy of supporting human rights, this prize advances his contribution to building a world that is safe and welcoming to all. This unique prize calls for multi-layered, brave and stirring African voices that represent a new wave of fresh storytelling, one that provokes thought on the topics of gender, social justice and sexuality.

The Judges

Ellah Wakatama

Ellah P. Wakatama, OBE, Hon, FRSL is a publisher, broadcaster and critic. She is Editor-at-Large at Canongate and was the founding publishing director of The Indigo Press. She is the Creative Manchester Senior Research Fellow at the School of New Writing, University of Manchester, and serves as the chair of the AKO Caine Prize for African Writing. 

She is former deputy editor of Granta magazine and senior editor at Jonathan Cape, Random House. She is the editor of the anthologies Africa39: New Writing from Africa South of the Sahara and Safe House: Explorations in Creative Nonfiction. Her journalism has appeared in the Telegraph, the Guardian, the Observer, Spectator and The Griffith Review.

A former judge for the Dublin International Literary Award, the Man Booker Prize, and the Morland Scholarship, she is a trustee of The Royal Literary Fund and sits on the Advisory Board of Art for Amnesty and the Editorial Advisory Panel of the Johannesburg Review of Books. She is currently a mentor for The Literary Consultancy.

Otosirieze Obi-Young

Otosirieze Obi-Young is a writer, editor, journalist and curator. He is editor of Folio Nigeria, CNN’s exclusive media affiliate in Nigeria. He is an editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective, and curator at the Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies exploring different aspects of Nigerianness. He was a judge for the Morland Writing Scholarship. He was deputy editor of Brittle Paper, where he created the Brittle Paper Awards, the first by an African publication. His work in queer advocacy has been profiled in Literary Hub. In 2019, he received the inaugural the Future Awards Africa Nigeria Prize for Literature.

Mark Gevisser

Mark Gevisser’s latest book, The Pink Line: Journeys Across the World’s Queer Frontiers, has been selected by Time, the Guardian and the Financial Times as one of the books of 2020. His previous books include Thabo Mbeki: The Dream Deferred (also known as A Legacy of Liberation), which won the 2008 Alan Paton Prize in South Africa; Lost and Found in Johannesburg, which won the Recht Malan Prize in South Africa and was shortlisted for the Jan Michalski Prize for World Literature; and Portraits of Power: Profiles in a Changing South Africa. He frequently publishes journalism on sexuality and gender, and was the co-editor of the pathbreaking Defiant Desire, Gay and Lesbian Lives in South Africa. 

He was one of the organisers of Africa’s first Pride march in Johannesburg in 1990.

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