Author, Researcher, Peace & Conflict Professional


  • 2016/2017 apexart New York City (NYC) Fellow
  • 2014 Winner Burt Award for African Literature, Kenya Chapter
  • 2010 Penguin Prize for African Writing nominee
  • Ist Prize, Adult Fiction Category – NBDCK  Literary Awards, September 2008 Book Week

Cycling City Canal  Dyke viewAmsterdam. I was in a city famed for its long-established tolerance including its legendry Pride Fest dedicated ‘Homomonument’ commemorating gay war victims and its Red Light District. From the minute I landed at Schiphol International Airport and everywhere I went, I heard tourists say this is a city of integrity and free speech. No wonder the International Criminal Court is located here - The Hague for most of us and Den Haag to the Dutch. You may be forgiven for thinking there are no boundaries left unexplored in Amsterdam. This is a story for another day when I will share the history of how Amsterdam came to be - a city built mostly (by immigrants) from dams and dykes on a canal belt and thus the name Amsterdam. But for now, I was here in my capacity as the Vice President of the PEN Kenya centre to attend the PEN International / International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN) Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) Conference and Biennial Networking meeting.


The longlist for the FT / OppenheimerFunds Emerging Voices Awards, which recognise extraordinary artistic talent across more than 100 emerging market nations has been announced.

• Blackass by A. Igoni BarrettChatto & Windus, Nigeria
• Broken Mirrors: Sinalcol by Elias KhouryMaclehose Press, Lebanon
• Dust by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor, Granta Books, Kenya
• It Might Get Loud by Ingrid Winterbach, Human & Rousseau, South Africa
• Our Lady of the Nile by Scholastique Mukasonga, Archipelago Books, Rwanda
• The Book of Memory by Petina Gappah, Faber & Faber, Zimbabwe
• The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma, Pushkin Press, Nigeria
• The Meursault Investigation by Kamel Daoud, Oneworld Publications, Algeria
• The Texture of Shadows by Mandla Langa, Picador Africa, South Africa
• Women of Karantina by Nael Eltoukhy, The American University in Cairo Press, Egypt
• Endless Nameless by Mont TesprateepThailand
• Exclaim by Jian MeiChina
• Kush by Shubhashish BhutianiIndia
• Scent of the Morning Sun by Harin Paesongthai & Monkum KhukhuntinThailand
• Selfie Girls by Huỳnh Nguyeễn Đăng KhoaVietnam
• The Concrete by Wei LiuChina
• The Last Mango Before the Monsoon by Payal KapadiaIndia
• The Sea by Han TingChina
• Trespassed by Yuhang HoMalaysia
• Under the Sun by Qiu YangChina
• Adriana Maria Beatriz CarambiaArgentina 
• Cássio VasconcellosBrazil 
• Cecilia MonteverdeArgentina
• Cristina PlanasPeru
• Fabiola Menchelli TejedaMexico 
• Gonzalo FuenmayorColombia 
• Hugo Arquímedes Carrillo GarcíaMexico 
• Marcela Ramirez-AzaColombia 
 Pablo Mora OrtegaColombia 
• Sebastian CastañedaPeru
Congratulations to all those that made it onto the longlist. 
Full list of those who entered the awards - Please see the full list here >>


Finalists for each category will be announced on 7 August and winners will be announced at a gala awards ceremony in New York on 5 October.


Sixteenth Caine Prize for African writing shortlist announced


Zoë Wicomb



The five writer shortlist for the 2015 Caine Prize for African Writing has been announced by Chair of judges, award-winning South African writer Zoë Wicomb. In a sign of the established calibre to be found in African writing and as the Caine Prize matures in its sixteenth year, the shortlist includes one past winner and two previously shortlisted writers.


Chair of judges, Zoë Wicomb described the shortlist as, "an exciting crop of well-crafted stories.​"


"For all the variety of themes and approaches, the shortlist has in common a rootedness in socio-economic worlds that are pervaded with affect, as well as keen awareness of the ways in which the ethical is bound up with aesthetics. Unforgettable characters, drawn with insight and humour, inhabit works ranging from classical story structures to a haunting, enigmatic narrative that challenges the conventions of the genre."


She added, "Understatement and the unspoken prevail: hints of an orphan’s identity bring poignant understanding of his world; the reader is slowly and expertly guided to awareness of a narrator’s blindness; there is delicate allusion to homosexual love; a disfigured human body is encountered in relation to adolescent escapades; a nameless wife’s insecurities barely mask her understanding of injustice; and, we are given a flash of insight into dark passions that rise out of a surreal resistance culture."

"Above all, these stories speak of the pleasure of reading fiction. It will be no easy task to settle on a winner."


Each shortlisted writer receives £500 and the winner of the £10,000 prize will be announced at an award ceremony and dinner at the Weston Library, Bodleian Libraries, Oxford, on Monday 6 July.


The 2015 shortlist comprises:


  • Segun Afolabi (Nigeria) for “The Folded Leaf” in Wasafiri (Wasafiri, London, 2014)
    Caine Prize winner 2005 for “Monday Morning”
    Read "The Folded Leaf"
  • Elnathan John (Nigeria) for “Flying” in Per Contra (Per Contra, International, 2014)
    Shortlisted in 2013 for “Bayan Layi”
    Read "Flying"
  • F. T. Kola (South Africa) for “A Party for the Colonel” in One Story (One Story, inc. Brooklyn, New York City, 2014)
    Read "A Party for the Colonel"
  • Masande Ntshanga (South Africa) for “Space” in Twenty in 20 (Times Media, South Africa, 2014)
    Read "Space"
  • Namwali Serpell (Zambia) for “The Sack” in Africa39 (Bloomsbury, London, 2014)
    Shortlisted in 2010 for “Muzungu”
    Read "The Sack"


Each of these stories will be published in New Internationalist’s Caine Prize 2015 Anthology in July and through co-publishers across Africa, who receive a print ready PDF free of charge from New Internationalist.


Read a short biography of the five shortlisted writers here.


View this press release as a PDF here...

28 April 2015
Regional Winners Announced
The 2015 Commonwealth Short Story Prize regional winners

Regional Winners Announced

Five writers awarded £2500 each for their prize winning stories

From nearly 4000 entries to the 2015 Commonwealth Short Story Prize, our judges selected an initial shortlist of just 22 stories.

They have now chosen the 5 regional winners - one each from Africa, Asia, Canada and Europe, the Caribbean and the Pacific.

Meet the regional winners – listen to each of them talk about their work, and find links to the winning stories.


London – 24 April 2014


This weekend, the 25 and 26 April 2015, marks the anniversary of the detention of six bloggers and three independent journalists arrested under Ethiopia’s Anti-Terrorism Proclamation 2009. One year on there is little to celebrate.


Since their detention, their trial has been adjourned at least 26 times, most recently on 8 April, according to Trial Tracker Blog – a blog which publishes regular reports on their case. Their next hearing is scheduled to take place on 26 May, two days after Ethiopia’s general election. Repeated delays alongside allegations of procedural irregularities, lack of access to legal counsel, and mistreatment during detention, continue to go unaddressed by the court giving rise to concerns for the defendants’ right to due process.


Atnaf Berhane, Mahlet Fantahun, Natnael Feleke, Befeqadu Hailu, Zelalem Kiberet, Abel Wabela contributors to the Zone 9 blog, and Tesfalem Waldyes, Asmamaw Haile Gorgis, and Edom Kassaye independent journalists were arrested on 25 and 26 April 2014 in a series of coordinated arrests. After being held for more than 80 days without charge – beyond the maximum period permitted by law – the group were formally charged with intending to “destabilise the nation,” connections to outlawed organisations including Ginbot7 and the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), and planning to carry out terrorism under the Anti-Terrorism Act on 18 July 2014. They also stand accused of using digital encryption to communicate. A translated version of the charge sheet is available here.


In July 2014, it was reported that Soliana Shimeles had been charged in absentia with coordinating communications with terrorist organisations for Zone 9 from abroad, enlisting new recruits to join Ginbot7, and coordinating digital security training with “Security in-a-box” on 17 July 2014. According to translated court documents, the authorities seized as evidence a Ginbot7 press release, recruiting criteria for Ginbot7, a human rights and digital security training manual and documents from an advocacy workshop.


Since 2009, the state has increasingly utilised its Anti-Terrorism Proclamation No. 652/2009 to arbitrarily arrest, prosecute and detain independent journalists and opposition activists. At least five print journalists are currently held in the country for supposed terrorism offences:  Eskinder Nega (journalist for now-defunct political magazine Change), Reeyot Alemu (contributor to the independent weekly Feteh), Woubshet Taye (deputy editor of the now-defunct Awramba Times)Yusuf Getachew and Solomon Kebede (editor and managing editor of the now-defunct weekly newspaper Ye Muslimoch Guday [Muslim Affairs]); for more information see PEN’s previous actions and Case List.  PEN believes that these journalists have been jailed because of their critical reporting and considers the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation to be draconian. Actions classified as ‘terrorist’ by the law would often not even be considered crimes outside of Ethiopia.


For further details please contact Tamsin Mitchell, Africa Researcher/Campaigner, Writers in Prison Committee, PEN International, Brownlow House, 50-51 High Holborn, London WC1V 6ER Tel: +44 (0) 207 405 0338 Fax +44 (0) 207 405 0339 email:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



World Press Freedom Day – May 2014 Action


Joint letter to the Ethiopian Prime Minister July 2014


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Shifting Sands

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The Shark Attack

Kadzo must now spill the beans! Yes, the value of her amputated leg out-weighs that of the thousands, or even millions of shillings earned from peddling and transporting Mono-eye’s cargo

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