Golden Baobab Prize Judges
2016 Judges +
Nonikiwe Mashologu consults for various Early Literacy organizations in editing and translating around South Africa. She’s the previous Chairperson of IBBY SA, the South African branch of IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People), which is an international NPO committed to bringing books and children together. Nonikiwe has also worked as a blogger for Nal’ibali, an organization which aims to inspire and sustain reading-for-enjoyment for South African children. She was celebrated as one of 12 women working to drive literacy change in South Africa. Prior to this, Nonikiwe worked as an editor for the Puku Children’s Literature website, a weekly online literary newspaper focused specifically on children’s literature, education and literacy in SA and at the Centre for the Book on the FWIP project (First Words in Print), an award-winning project which places books in their home languages into the hands of children younger than six. She describes herself as a mother, a wife, a children’s literature reviewer, editor and translator, a natural hair blogger.
Rutendo Renee Chabikwa is a writer, poet and former winner of the Golden Baobab Prize for Rising Writers. Rutendo was born on the 6th of October in 1994 in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe. She was awarded a scholarship to study for an International Baccalaureate with the United World Colleges at Lester B. Pearson College in British Columbia, Canada. Rutendo started writing at a very tender age, and while she is honored to receive recognition for her short fiction, her main focus has always been poetry. Writing has always been a passion of hers as she loves to express her creativity through language. Rutendo is currently a an undergraduate student at St. Lawrence University
Kofi Anyimadu is a young author, book lover and former judge of the Golden Baobab Prize for Illustrators who lives in Accra and attends North Legon Little Campus. Kofi has three short stories to his credit and is very appreciative of good art when he sees it. Kofi is excited for the opportunity to contribute his perspective to the Golden Baobab Book Prize.
Daphne Lee is an editor and writer with more than twenty years experience in the publishing industry. She was a sub-editor and features writer at a leading Malaysian daily for a decade, and wrote a weekly column about children’s books for twelve years. She is currently the consulting editor at children’s and YA publisher Scholastic Asia. Daphne also edits in a freelance capacity, and conducts workshops on creative writing. Nominated for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award 2011 for her work as a promoter of reading, she is a staunch supporter of the development of African and Asian literature.
Brenda Randolph is the founder and director of Africa Access. She is a graduate of North Carolina Central University, and holds a Master's degree in African Studies from Howard University as well as a Master's in Information Services from the University of Maryland, College Park. Currently she works as Outreach Director at the Center for African Studies at Howard University. She has worked as a library media specialist in Virginia, Massachusetts and Maryland. Brenda received the Francois Manchuelle Award in 2001 for innovative work promoting the cause of African Studies in the K-12 community. The award is given in memory of Dr. Manchuelle, an Africanist historian, who perished in the crash of TWA Flight 800 on July 17, 1996. In 2007 at the 50th anniversary of the founding of the African Studies Association, she received the National Outreach Council Award of Appreciation for outstanding service and commitment to promoting the teaching of Africa through the Children's Africana Book Award. Brenda was a major contributor to Sankofa Journal, a peer-reviewed journal edited by Meena Khorana and published by the Department of English and Language Arts at Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland.
Lanre Shasore’s professional career has focused on governance and rights in the developing world. At various times she has worked with the United Nations as a political analyst in West and East Africa. In 2013 she helped to create Quramo Publishing in Lagos, Nigeria, publishing children's, fiction and general interest books and cannot overemphasize the importance of sharing African stories.
2014 Judges +
Nonikiwe Mashologu is a blogger for Nal’ibali, an organization which aims to inspire and sustain reading-for-enjoyment for South African children. She is also the recent past Chairperson for IBBY SA, the South African branch of IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People). Nonikiwe has been celebrated as one of 12 women in South Africa who is working to drive literacy change. She believes that all children are born with curious, inquisitive minds that are ready to soak up information like sponges and children love hearing stories. “Introducing them to books at an early stage will take them on so many journeys even before they step out of their communities. It will make them wonder, question and want to explore the world,” Nonikwe says. Prior to her current work, she worked as an editor for the Puku Children’s Literature website. Nonikiwe describes herself as a mother, a wife, a children’s literature reviewer, a blogger and a natural hair guru. She loves photography and the simple things in life. Nonikiwe served as a judge for the 2013 Golden Baobab Prizes.
Paul O. Zelinsky is one of the most prominent chldren’s book illustrators working in the United States today. He studied Art at Yale College and the Tyler School of Art, and after a brief stint teaching college art, he moved to New York to illustrate children’s books. He now lives with his wife in Brooklyn, NY. Zelinsky is known for the versatility of his style. Perhaps his best-known book, The Wheels on the Bus, has sold over three million copies worldwide. Its colorful, expressionist art stands in bold contrast to the Italian Renaissance-style paintings in his retelling of Rapunzel and his other books based on Grimm fairy tales. His recent illustrations for Kelly Bingham’s playfully subversive picture books 'Z is for Moose' and 'Circle, Square, Moose' have been winning him new, ever younger, fans. Paul received the 1987 Caldecott Medal for Rapunzel, as well as three previous Caldecott Honors. His books have won New York Times Best Illustrated awards five times, and numerous other awards and honors. He volunteers extensively with literacy organizations such as RIF, and Learning Leaders. He serves on the Board of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and on the Chldren’s and YA Committee of PEN American Center. For many years he has been a juror for the Ezra Jack Keats Award, given annually to a beginning illustrator and author of a picture book published in the USA.
Summer Edward is the Founder and Managing Editor of Anansesem Caribbean children's literature ezine, as well as a writer, poet, children's publishing consultant and children's literature blogger. Born in the Caribbean island of Trinidad, Summer has lived in the United States for a decade. She holds a Masters degree in Reading/Writing/Literacy from the University of Pennsylvania. She is the recipient of a Highlights Foundation Scholarship for promising children's writers, and also received the School of the Free Mind's inaugural Way of the Book Honor Award given to artist-authors demonstrating long and sincere commitment to changing the world through children's books. In 2012 she was a writer-in-residence with the Cropper Foundation Caribbean Creative Writers Residential Workshop in Trinidad. She most recently participated in a Literary Boot Camp for Women of Color led by A. Naomi Jackson ('The Star Side of Bird Hill' author) at the Kelly Writers House in Philadelphia, USA. Summer's poetry, fiction and art have appeared online in tongues of the ocean, Moko: Caribbean Arts and Letters, St. Somewhere Journal and sx salon to name a few, and have been published or are forthcoming in print in BIM: Arts for the 21st Century, The Columbia Review, The Caribbean Writer, Philadelphia Stories, Obsidian: Literature in the African Diaspora, and Matatu Journal for African Culture and Society. One of her poems was nominated for a Puschart Prize and her short story 'A View of the Sea' was shortlisted for the Small Axe Literary Prize. Her writing and art for children is carded to appear in an international anthology of children's literature edited by Pura Belpré-award-winning children's author-artist, Maya Gonzalez. Summer is the recipient of a Roothbert Fellowship for people motivated in their life's work by spiritual values.
Kofi Anyimadu is an 8-year book lover and writer who lives in Accra and attends North Legon Little Campus. His current favorite book is Francesca Simon's Horrid Henry. Kofi has three short stories to his credit and although he is not very good at drawing himself, is very appreciative of good art when he sees it. Kofi is excited for the opportunity contribute his perspective to the inaugural Golden Baobab Prizes for Illustrators.
Dr. Nancy Drost lives in Accra, Ghana and has had a long love affair with African literature. She is an educationist, and promotes African novels and short stories in her community. An avid reader, participant in the Accra Book Club and Board member of Golden Baobab, she is thrilled to be a first-time judge for the Prize.
Thirteen year old Kanengo Rebecca Diallo lives in the city of Dar-es-Salam, Tanzania, with her mother, Nuru, her father, Anthony, and her two siblings. Since she was eight years old, Kanengo’s dream has been to become a world renowned author of books and if lucky, best-selling books. Kanengo discovered that she has a unique talent of drawing manga or anime comics. Usually when she writes her stories, she turns them into comics. Kanengo is the winner of the 2013 Golden Baobab Prize for Rising Writers with her story Pieces of Africa. It features four children with diverse backgrounds who come from different parts of Africa. To save the world, the children have been chosen to find all the magical puzzle pieces scattered around Africa. Kanengo is an eighth grade student at the International School of Tanganyika (IST). She hopes to write a series to follow Pieces of Africa and hopefully get published.
Doreen Baingana is a Ugandan writer and author of Tropical Fish, which won an AWP (Association of Writers & Writing Programs) Prize for Short Fiction in 2004 and the Commonwealth Prize for First Book, Africa Region, in 2006. Two stories in it were finalists for the Caine Prize for African Writing. Ms. Baingana has also published two children’s books, Gamba the Gecko Wants to Drum and My Fingers are Stuck, as well as fiction and essays in journals such as The African American Review, Callaloo, Agni, Glimmertrain, Kwani and Chimurenga. She has a law degree from Makerere University and an MFA from the University of Maryland, where she later was a Writer in Residence. She worked for Voice of America radio for ten years and Storymoja, a Kenyan publishing house, for two, as well as having taught creative writing in the US, Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda. She was Chairperson of FEMRITE: the Uganda Women Writers Association in 2011-2013, a winner of the inaugural Miles Morland Scholarship 2014 and a judge of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2014. She lives in Entebbe with her son.
Akua Peprah grew up in Accra, Ghana and is currently a second grade teacher at The Park School of Baltimore. Akua completed a BA in French at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania and a MSEd in Childhood General Education and Teaching Literacy. She is passionate about children's literature and is always searching for stories to share with her students, that reflect their experiences and also expose them to new ideas and cultures. Akua is also an avid reader of African literature, women authors and poetry!
Kinna Likimani is the Programs Officer for Mbaasem Foundation, which works to support and promote African women’s writing. She is the Founder of AfterSchool Ghana, an NGO that aims to improve the educational and social well-being of rural and urban disadvantaged children. She also co-founded the Abeadze Women's Development Organization, a rural community organization empowering women to achieve economic, social and gender justice. She is also Team Lead of Ghana Decides, a non-partisan project focused on fostering a better-informed electorate using online social media tools. Likimani is a feminist, social activist and a writer. Her literary blog, Kinna Reads, is one of the go-to locations online for dialogue on African literature. In 2012, she began an online based literacy challenge - the Africa Reading Challenge - which encourages participants to read, discover and discuss African literature for one year. Likimani has degrees from Smith College and Columbia University in the U.S. Prior to her return to Ghana in 2004, she worked for ten years at Columbia University in the fields of medical informatics and technology transfer. She and her brood of boys live in Accra.
2013 Judges +
Esi Sutherland-Addy is a professor at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, working in the Language, Literature and Drama Section. She has served on several boards, committees and commissions in the University, nationally and internationally and is currently Chairperson of the National Inspectorate Board and Afram Publications Ghana Ltd. She also serves on the Executive Board of the Forum for African Women Educationalists and the Centre for Higher Education Transformation (RSA). Sutherland held two ministerial positions as Deputy Minister for Culture and Tourism and Higher Education respectively(1986-1993). Her research interests are in written and oral literature, gender, performing arts as well as education and cultural policy. She is currently setting up an archive of storytelling in Ghana at the Institute of African Studies. She has also written/edited over 50 books and articles including: Women Writing Africa, West Africa and the Sahel (edited with Aminata Diaw)and Ghana Where the Bead Speaks, written with Ama Ata Aidoo and Kati Torda. Esi Sutherland-Addy has received several awards including an Honorary Dr. of Letters. (Winneba) and is an Honorary Fellow of the College of Preceptors, U.K. Her work in civil society cuts across the arts, children, girl’s education and capacity building. She is currently Secretary to Mmofra Foundation, Chairperson of the Forum for African Women Educationalists Ghana Chapter and Convener of the Ghana Culture Forum.
Bernardine Evaristo was born in Woolwich, South East London, the fourth of eight children, to an English mother and Nigerian father. Her father was a welder and local Labour Councillor and her mother a schoolteacher. She was educated at Eltham Hill Girls Grammar School, the Rose Bruford College of Speech & Drama, and Goldsmiths College, University of London, where she earned a doctorate in Creative Writing. Bernardine is the author of seven books including her forthcoming novel, Mr Loverman, about a 74 year old Caribbean London man who is closet homosexual (Hamish Hamilton/Penguin, August 29th 2013). Her writing is characterised by experimentation, daring, subversion and challenging the myths of various Afro-diasporic histories and identities. Her writing ranges in genre from poetry, verse-novels, a novel-with-verse, a novella, short stories, prose novels, radio and theatre drama and literary essays and criticism. Bernardine has won several awards and her books have been a ‘Book of the Year’ twelve times in British newspapers. She was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2004, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2006, and she received an MBE in 2009. She lives in London with her husband.
Osayimwense Osa is the author of African Children's and Youth Literature (1995) in the Twayne's World Authors Series, Foundation - Essays in Children's Literature and Youth Literature (1987), Nigerian Youth Literature (1987), and editor of The All White World of Children's Books and African American Children's Literature (1995), Youth Literature International - A Selection of Readings (1988), and African Children’s and Youth Literature at the Dawn of the 21st Century (2004-2006). He has taught in various universities on both sides of the Atlantic. A Fellow of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, he is currently a Professor of English at Virginia State University.He was a British Council sponsored scholar for Practical Explorations in English Language Teaching Methodology at the University of Stirling in Scotland in 1986, a Fellow at the International Youth Library in Munich, Germany, in 1989, and a Fellow at the International Institute for Children's Literature, Osaka, Japan, in 1994. In September 2004, he was a part of the US delegate to the 29th Biennial Congress of the International Board on Books for young People (IBBY) in Cape Town, South Africa. He is the Founding Editor of the Journal of African Children's & Youth Literature (JACYL), and he is a member of the International Advisory Board of The Journal of Comparative Literature and Aesthetics.
Nonikiwe Mashologu is the Chairperson of IBBY SA, the South African branch of IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People), which is an international NPO committed to bringing books and children together. Nonikiwe, who was recently celebrated as one of 12 women in South Africa who is working to drive literacy change in South Africa, believes that all children are born with curious, inquisitive minds, soak up information like sponges and love hearing stories. “Introducing them to books at an early stage will take them on so many journeys even before they step out of their communities. It will make them wonder, question and want to explore the world,” she says. Prior to her current position at IBBY SA, Nonikiwe worked as an editor for the Puku Children’s Literature website. Nonikiwe describes herself as a mother, a wife, a children’s literature reviewer, a blogger and a natural hair guru. She loves photography and the simple things in life.
Born in Canada, Zetta Elliott moved to the US in 1994 to pursue her PhD in American Studies at NYU. Her poetry has been published in several anthologies, and her plays have been staged in New York, Chicago, and Cleveland. Her essays have appeared in Horn Book Magazine, School Library Journal, and Hunger Mountain. Her first picture book, Bird, won the Honor Award in Lee & Low Books’ New Voices Contest; it was named Best of 2008 by Kirkus Reviews, a 2009 ALA Notable Children’s Book, and Bird won the Paterson Prize for Books for Young Readers. Elliott’s first young adult novel, A Wish After Midnight, has been called “gripping,” “a revelation…vivid, violent and impressive history.” Her latest novel, Ship of Souls, was published in 2012; it was included in Booklist’s Top Ten Sci-fi/Fantasy Titles for Youth and was a finalist for the Phillis Wheatley Book Award. Zetta Elliott is Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies at Borough of Manhattan Community College and currently lives in Brooklyn.
Annette M. Hansen was born and grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, IL, the United States of America. After completing two BA’s in Near Eastern Archaeology and Arabic Studies from Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, she completed a MSc. in Archaeological Science at Keble College, the University of Oxford. She has studied and worked in eight countries (including Egypt and Morocco), and presently lives in the Netherlands with her partner where she works as a researcher, administrator and English teacher at University of Groningen. In her free time, she writes novels and children’s stories.
2012 Judges +
2011 Judges +
Brenda Randolph is the founder and director of Africa Access. She is a graduate of North Carolina Central University, holds a Master's degree in African Studies from Howard University and a Master's in Information Services from the University of Maryland, College Park. She has worked as a library media specialist in Virginia, Massachusetts and Maryland. Brenda received the Francois Manchuelle Award in 2001 for innovative work promoting the cause of African Studies in the K-12 community. The award is given in memory of Dr. Manchuelle, an Africanist historian, who perished in the crash of TWA Flight 800 on July 17, 1996. In 2007 at the 50th anniversary of the founding of the African Studies Association, she received the National Outreach Council Award of Appreciation for outstanding service and commitment to promoting the teaching of Africa through the Children's Africana Book Award. Brenda is a major contributor to Sankofa Journal, a peer-reviewed journal edited by Meena Khorana and published annually by the Department of English and Language Arts at Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland. Sankofa includes scholarly articles on emerging trends in African and African Diaspora juvenile literatures and in-depth book reviews of books nominated by U.S. publishers for the Children's Africana Book Awards.
Helon Habila was born in Nigeria. He worked as a lecturer and journalist in Nigeria before he moved to England to become the African Writing Fellow at the University of East Anglia. In 2002 he published his first novel, Waiting for an Angel. Waiting for an Angel has been translated into many languages including Dutch, Italian, Swedish, and French. His writing has won many prizes including the Caine Prize, 2001, and the Commonwealth Writers Prize, 2003. In 2005/2006 he became the Chinua Achebe Fellow at Bard College, NY.
He is a contributing editor to the Virginia Quarterly Review. In 2006 he co-edited the British Council's anthology, New Writing 14. His second novel, Measuring Time, was published in 2007, it won the Virginia Library Foundation Fiction Award, 2008, and was shortlisted for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, 2008. His third novel, Oil on Water, was published in the US in 2011. His anthology, The Granta Book of the African Short Story just came out in September, 2011. Habila teaches creative writing at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, where he lives with his wife and three children.
Zimbabwean-born writer, human rights activist and political analyst, Elinor Sisulu combines training in history, English literature, development studies and feminist theory. She was an academic researcher in Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Labor from 1980 – 87 after which she worked in the Lusaka office of the International Labor Organization (ILO) on its program of assistance to Southern African liberation movements. She moved to South Africa with her husband Max Sisulu in 1991. In 1994 she wrote an award winning children’s book The Day Gogo Went to Vote depicting democratic elections in South Africa. Her biography on her parents-in-law, Walter and Albertina Sisulu: In Our Lifetime secured her the prestigious 2003 Noma Award for publishing in Africa. From 2003 to 2009, Elinor worked on Zimbabwean democracy initiatives. She has been active in various children’s literature initiatives and is a founding member of the recently-established Puku Children’s Literature Foundation that seeks to increase the quantity and quality of books and educational content for children in Southern Africa. She lives in Pretoria with her husband Max and three sons, Vuyisile, Duma and Sandile.
Meshack Asare was born in Ghana and studied Art at the University of Science and Technology in Kumasi. He is a successful author and illustrator of books for children and young people with his books translated into a number of languages. He won the NOMA Prize for publishing in Africa in 1982 and has since, won other prestigious National and International awards including the UNESCO Prize for Tolerance in Literature for Children and Young People. He now lives in Germany.
Born in Nevis, Carol has lived in several Caribbean countries. She spent a large part of her formative years in Trinidad, where one of her favorite pastimes was competing with her father to see who could compose the best humorous lyrics to existing songs. This was just the beginning of her interest in creative writing. Back in St. Kitts, Carol began a more serious side of her writing career in high school when she wrote public service pieces and participated in several debating competitions. After leaving high school to pursue further studies in Barbados and the United States, Carol focused her efforts on developing her information technology and business management skills, while making every effort possible to write and participate in public speaking.
In 2007, on a visit to Brimstone Hill, Carol was struck by the monument’s beauty and its potential as the setting for a children’s book. The result was Adventure at Brimstone Hill and the birth of the Caribbean Adventure Series. Currently, Carol lives in Ghana, West Africa. She writes about her experiences as a “trailing spouse” in West Africa on the Obroni section of the website, kittivisianlife.com. She also writes about writing on NovelSpaces.blogspot.com. See all of her musings at caribbeanadventureseries.wordpress.com
Tanja Galetti was born in Southern Germany but has lived in Ghana for the past 18 years. She earned her first Master’s degree in African Linguistics from University of Bayreuth (Germany) and is currently working towards her second Master’s in Educational Technology through Indiana State University, Terre Haute. She completed the Library Media Services Certification Program at Indiana State University and is in her fifth year as Elementary Library Media Specialist at Lincoln Community School, Accra, Ghana. At LCS she engages with over 300 children, ages 3-11, from over 50 different countries. She is passionate about kindling their passion for reading and constantly seeks new reading materials that ignite her young readers’ interest. At the same time she aims at developing a multicultural collection, which allows readers to connect with their home or host culture, Ghana, as well as with other cultures from around the world. Tanja also collaborates with classroom teachers on the integration of information literacy skills, thereby exploring technology and Web 2.0 tools (find her on Twitter as tgaletti and Shelfari).Tanja co-authored an annotated bibliography on Nubian Languages and participated in an oral history project on beads in Ghana, contributing also to the resulting publication The Bead is Constant.