Judges

Prof. Clara Momanyi is a Kenyan who has been teaching Kiswahili Literature in Kenyan universities for more than 20 years. Her Master’s dissertation was on Kiswahili Literature and Gender Issues. She is also a novelist, and writes short stories and poetry. Her book, Ushindi wa Nakate (Nakate’s Victory), won the 2015 Jomo Kenyatta-Textbook Centre Prize for Literature, in the category of Children’s Literature. Her other books include Tumaini and Pendo Katiia Shari.

Her academic papers have been published in various recognized journals. She currently concentrates on research in Kiswahili Literature as well as translating national and international documents into Kiswahili from English.

In 2015 Prof. Momanyi was one of the judges of the inaugural edition of the Mabati-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature. She has also adjudicated in other Literature Prizes, such as the Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature, Kenya, both in Kiswahili and English.

Ahmed Rajab is a Zanzibari-born international journalist, political analyst, essayist and a columnist for Tanzania’s premier weekly Raia Mwema. A philosophy graduate (University of London), he also holds a post-graduate diploma in Urbanisation in Developing Countries (University College, London), and a Master’s degree in Modern African Literature (Sussex University). His dissertation was on the Négritude poet David Diop.

Ahmed has worked for the BBC World Service, Index-on-Censorship (he was its first Africa and Middle East researcher-cum-editor), Africa EventsAfrica Analysis, as well as Unesco and the UNDP. From 2006-2009 he was based in Dubai where he was Head of Newsroom (Middle East/Asia Bureau) for IRIN, the then UN humanitarian news agency and he later spent another three years in Nairobi as Managing Director of Universal TV.  He now works as a consultant and is affiliated to the Kaduna-based Gusau Institute. Ahmed’s poems are included in the anthology African New Voices (Longman, 1997). He has translated into Swahili two children books which were recently published by Salaam Publishing in London.  Ahmed Rajab was one of the judges for the 2018 Caine Prize for African Writing.

Dr. Amiri Swaleh is a Senior Lecturer in the Kiswahili Department, University of Nairobi. He has been teaching Kiswahili Literature and Socio-Linguistics for the last 27 years and is currently the Head of Kiswahili Literature. Besides his academic papers published in various journals, he is also a writer of short stories, which have been included in collections such as Kosa la Nani? na Hadithi Nyingine (2018).

His main interests include research and criticism of Kiswahili Literature, especially in areas of gender, old Kiswahili Poetry, history of Kiswahili, language and the development of society, and political systems.

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