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2014 Commonwealth Short Story Prize judges:

  • past-winner
    Chair: Ellah Allfrey

    Ellah Wakatama Allfrey is the former deputy editor of Granta magazine and began her career at Penguin before joining Jonathan Cape, Random House where she was senior editor. She currently works as a book critic, editor and broadcaster. A regular contributor to NPR, her writing has appeared in the Guardian, the Observer and the Telegraph. She is series editor for the Kwani? Manuscript Prize and sits on the board of the Writers’ Centre Norwich and the arts selection panel for the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Centre. As well as serving as deputy Chair of the Caine Prize for African Writing, she is a patron of the Etisalat Literature Prize. She has served on numerous judging panels including the David Cohen Prize, the Caine Prize for African Writing and the BOCAS Prize for Caribbean Literature. Her introduction to Woman of the Aeroplanes by Kojo Laing (Pearson, African Writers Series) was published in 2012. A Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, Allfrey was awarded an OBE in 2011 for services to the publishing industry. @epwa66

  • past-winner
    Doreen Baingana

    Doreen Baingana is the author of Tropical Fish: Stories out of Entebbe, which won the AWP (Association of Writing Programs) Prize for Short Fiction (US) and the Commonwealth Prize for First Book, Africa region in 2006. She has also won the Washington Independent Writers Fiction Prize and been nominated twice for the Caine Prize for African Writing. Baingana has published two children’s books, Gamba the Gecko wants to Drum and My Fingers are Stuck, as well as fiction and essays in many anthologies, journals and newspapers. She has a law degree from Makerere University and an MFA from the University of Maryland, where she later was a Writer-in-Residence. Baingana worked for Voice of America for ten years; was Managing Editor of Storymoja, a Kenyan publishing house, for two years, and has taught creative writing in the US, Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda. She lived in the US for 16 years before returning to Uganda, and was recently Chairperson of FEMRITE: the Uganda Women Writers Association (2011-2013). @dbaing01

  • past-winner
    Courttia Newland

    Courttia Newland’s first novel, The Scholar, was published in 1997. Further critically acclaimed work includes Society Within (1999) and Snakeskin (2002), The Dying Wish (2006), Music for the Off-Key (2006), and A Book of Blues (2011). He is co-editor of IC3: The Penguin Book of New Black Writing in Britain (2000). A novel, The Gospel According to Cane, was published by Akashic Books (US) and Telegram (UK) in February 2013. He is an associate lecturer in creative writing at Birkbeck, University of London. @courttianewland

  • past-winner
    Marlon James

    Marlon James was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1970. His second novel, The Book of Night Women, was the winner the 2010 Dayton Literary Peace Prize, The Minnesota Book Award, The Go On Girl! Book Club Author of The Year and was a finalist for the National Books Critics Circle Award and the NAACP Image Award. His first novel, John Crow’s Devil, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Regional Commonwealth Writers Prize. His short fiction has appeared in Esquire Magazine, and the anthologies Iron Balloons, Kingston Noir, and Bronx Noir. His nonfiction has appeared Publisher’s Weekly, Granta, and the Caribbean Review of Books. James teaches Literature and Creative Writing at Macalester College, St. Paul, Minnesota, is currently editing an anthology of Caribbean fiction for McSweeneys and completing his third novel.

  • past-winner
    Michelle De Kretser

    Michelle de Kretser was born in Sri Lanka and emigrated to Australia when she was 14. Educated in Melbourne and Paris, Michelle has worked as a university tutor, an editor and a book reviewer. She is the author of The Rose Grower, The Hamilton Case, which won the Commonwealth Prize (SE Asia and Pacific region) and the Encore Prize, The Lost Dog, which won the NSW Premier’s Book of the Year Award, the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction and the ALS Gold Medal, and Questions of Travel, winner of the 2013 Miles Franklin Literary Award, the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Fiction and the ALS Gold Medal. She lives in Sydney.

  • past-winner
    Jeet Thayil

    Jeet Thayil is an Indian poet, novelist, librettist and musician. His four poetry collections include English and These Errors Are Correct, which won the Indian Academy of Letters 2013 award for poetry in English. He is the editor of The Bloodaxe Book of Contemporary Indian Poets. As a musician and songwriter, he is one half of the contemporary music project Sridhar/Thayil. Thayil’s debut novel Narcopolis won the 2012 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, and was shortlisted for five other prizes, including the Man Booker Prize, the Man Asian Literature Prize and the Commonwealth Book Prize. @jeetthayil