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The Lumina Foundation which administers the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa based in Lagos, Nigeria with an office in Accra, Ghana, has announced the composition of the Jury for the 2016 -2018 period. The bi-annually given Prize which is also the biggest and open to all African writers residing on the continent and outside comes with a cash of $20,000, a citation at the awards ceremony in Lagos or a selected city in Africa. It honors Africa’s first Nobel Laureate in Literature- Prof. Wole Soyinka who normally gives the Prize in the third week of July and is also to inspire a new generation of writers.


The Prize rotates in the three genres of the literary arts- prose, poetry and plays and will in the 2016 consider entries in poetry. Submissions are from July to December 2015. Very competitive and the selection process vigorous, entries have normally been close to 500 from over 30 countries.[ See for details of The lumina Foundation and rules and regulations governing submission of entries].

The Chief Executive of the Foundation, Dr. Ogochukwu Promise says that by working with the telecommunication organization, Globacom as major development partner in arts promotion: “the over 350 reading clubs we have established in Lagos and beyond and plans to do so in Ghana and Rwanda as well as the compliment of mobile libraries in schools and villages, are yielding tremendous results in the creation of a new African in terms of reading, inspiration to write and critical thinking.”

As further inspiration for writers, both the current and past chair of the Foundation, Dr. Yemi Ogunbiyi and Mrs. Francesca Yetunde Emanuel have spoken of a residency programme for future Prize winners.

The 2016-18 Jury is made up of distinguished global literary figures with experience in African affairs and judges of other prizes. They have over the years helped to grow African literature. They are: Margaret Busby, Publisher, editor of the well-known anthology, Daughters of Africa who previously chaired the Caine Prize. Busby will chair the Jury deliberations. [See biography attached].

Others are the distinguished historian Toyin Falola, author of over hundred books on Africa and currently President of the African Studies Association of the United States and Elleke Boehmer the distinguished Professor of World Literature in English and Governing Board Fellow, Wolfson College, the University of Oxford. [See biographies attached].

The Development Policy Advisor to The Lumina Foundation, Mr. Ivor Agyeman-Duah says the further internationalization of the Jury composition and the creation of an international Advisory Board “ is to create greater visibility for both the work of The Lumina Foundation and allow the Prize to also take its place in the literary world.”

Mr. Agyeman-Duah describes the composition of the historian, David Owusu-Ansah, Professor at James Madison University in the United States , Gus Casely-Hayford leading Cultural historian and curator in Britain as well as Auma Obama from Kenya, East Africa, a literary writer, author of And Then Life Happens- A Memoir (also incidentally the sister of US President Barrack Obama) as bringing on board “ greater cosmopolitan perspectives to the Foundation’s affairs; especially the connection to other global literary agencies and organizations.” [see biographies attached].

In the running for a decade, previous Prize winners include the Nigerian and South African novelists , Sefi Atta, Nnedi Okoroafor, Wale Okediran, Kopano Matlwa , Sifizo Mzobe some of whom have gone on to become world-known novelists, playwrights and poets though there had been other already established writers winning.


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