Profile of Judges


Chigozie Obioma

Chigozie Obioma was born in Nigeria. He has lived in Cyprus, Turkey, and now the United States where he is a professor of Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. A recipient of Hopwood Awards in fiction and poetry, his fiction has appeared in Virginia Quarterly Review and Transition.

His novel, THE FISHERMEN, will be published originally in English by ONE/Pushkin Press (UK), Little, Brown (US/Canada), Scribe (Australia/NZ), Cassava Republic (Nigeria) and in 22 languages beginning from Spring 2015.

His debut novel, THE FISHERMEN, is a winner of the inaugural FT/Oppenheimer Award for Fiction and the NAACP Image Awards for Debut Literary Work, and was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize 2015. Obioma was named one of Foreign Policy's 100 Influential People of the year in 2015.

TERESA OYIBO AMEH is a prolific writer, with eight published books for children.  Her eighth book, The Torn Petal, was published in 2017.  She is also the initiator of Aunty Talatu Reads, a project aimed at encouraging reading in the Nigerian child.  She also runs a children’s book club. She taught for a couple of years before joining the Federal Civil Service and she is currently an Assistant Director. The two-term former chairman of the Association of Nigeria Authors, Abuja chapter, is a patron of The Abuja Literary Society and a Trustee of the Northern Nigerian Writers Summit.

TONI KAN holds both M.A and B.A degrees in English Literature from the universities of Lagos and Jos respectively. He worked as a journalist for 5 years, post-graduation and rose to the position of Editor at the age of 26 years, before moving on to work in banking and telecoms. Author of 5 critically acclaimed works of fiction and poetry including The Carnivorous City, Nights of the Creaking Bed and When A Dream Lingers Too Long, Toni Kan has ghost-written 5 biographical works. Kan, whose works and awards have taken him to the UK, Scotland, Germany, South Africa, Kenya, Switzerland and Italy amongst other is co-founder of Toni Kan is at work on Time Never Passes, another novel about Lagos.

YEMISI ARIBISALA is a Nigerian writer, essayist and food memoirist. She is best known for her work in using food as a literary substrate to capture narratives that overlap Nigerian generational eras. She won the 2016 John Avery Award at the Andre Simon Food & Drink Book Awards. She lives in London with her children.

MARY ONONOKPONO is a Nigerian-British writer. She is the recipient of the 2018 Florence Staniforth Prize for Excellence in Creative Writing, the winner of the 2017 Black Letter Media Short Story Prize, and the Winner of the 2014 Golden Baobab Prize for Early Chapter Books. Mary is also a two-time finalist of the Morland Writing Scholarship. Her writing has been published in various anthologies and magazines. Mary holds an MPhil in African Studies from the University of Cambridge. She is now a PhD candidate in the University of Cambridge history faculty. Her research concerns economic and cultural transformations across the bight of Biafra in the long eighteenth-century. Mary is also completing a novel.

ANA MOCANU is a poet whose lines come in two languages (Romanian and English) and various poetry genres, combining classical with reflective, modern styles of writing. In 2013, she was a finalist in the national poetry competition ‘Romanians for a world’ with the portfolio entitled ‘A bird in space’. She writes intercultural poetry in the evolutionary spirit of freedom and justice for the good, for love, for humanity. Ana holds an MA in Communication sciences and Journalism (University of Bucharest), an MA in Intercultural Education and Internationalisation (Durham University), and is now a PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge, UK, where she conducts her PhD study in (inter)cultural knowledges in education, and the globalized societies of the 21st Century.



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