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

emerging voices 2016

In February the Financial Times and OppenheimerFunds announced the launch of the second annual FT/OppenheimerFunds Emerging Voices Awards, a global initiative designed to recognize artistic talent in emerging-market nations. This list of emerging-market nations was defined by the World Bank Atlas Method as those countries with a GNI per capita of less than $12,746.

The winners in the three categories – art, fiction, and film will be announced in September. Each winner will receive a $40,000 award, and two runners-up per category will receive $5,000.

The 2016 Emerging Voices Awards follow the success of the inaugural program, which launched in December 2014 and got submissions from over 800 artists in 65 emerging-market nations. Last year, Chigozie Obioma won the Emerging Voices fiction award for his debut novel ‘The Fishermen’,Yuhang Ho of Malaysia won the Emerging Voices film award for  her film ‘Trespassed’, and Cristina Planas of Peru won the Emerging Voices art award for her pieces ‘Vultures’, ‘Table of Negotiations’, ‘Mass Grave’ and ‘Coloured Christ’.   Kenyan author Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor had made it to the fiction short-list with her debut novel ‘Dust.’

Comments by Michael Skapinker, FT associate editor and chair of the judges: “We are delighted to launch the Emerging Voices arts awards with OppenheimerFunds for the second year. The Financial Times has reported and analysed the rise of the emerging market economies and followed their political trajectories for years. These awards show our determination to learn more about, and reward, their cultural richness too.”  

“The quality of the submissions we received during our first Emerging Voices Awards program was extraordinary,” said Justin Leverenz, Director of Emerging Market Equities at OppenheimerFunds and Founder of the Emerging Voices Awards. “I am honored to continue this program to help provide a global stage to feature the visionary talent, creativity, and originality of artists from emerging-market nations.”

“As a leading global asset manager, we strive to uncover innovative and entrepreneurial companies in the emerging markets for our investors,” said Art Steinmetz, Chairman and CEO of OppenheimerFunds. “Likewise, we are pleased to work with the Financial Times again this year to help highlight and recognize remarkable artists in these countries.”

This year’s Emerging Voices Awards will be open to residents or passport holders of emerging-market nations in three categories:

  1. Africa: The art award for painting, drawing, sculpture, installation, or mixed media.

  2. Asia-Pacific: The fiction award for works published in English.

  3. Latin America and the Caribbean: The film award for works completed between January 1, 2015, and March 31, 2016. Films can be in any language but must have English subtitles.

The award winners will be chosen by a panel of judges who are influential in art, fiction, and film. The judges aim to recognize the artist in each category whose work shows outstanding talent and in some way furthers understanding of his or her region. Last year’s judges included Mira Nair, Elif Shafak, and Jorge Tacla.

Submission opened on 1 February 2016 and the deadline is 3 May 2016. The long-list for each category will be announced in June 2016. Shortlisted entrants from each category will be announced in August 2016. All shortlisted participants will be flown to New York for an awards gala on September 26, 2016, at the New York Public Library where the category winners will be announced.

For more information and submission guidelines on the FT/OppenheimerFunds Emerging Voices Awards, please visit  

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