Ellah Wakatama Allfrey


Ellah Wakatama Allfrey, OBE, Hon, FRSL (born 16 September 1966), is Editor-at-Large at Canongate Books, a senior Research Fellow at Manchester University and Chair of the Caine Prize for African Writing.

She was the founding Publishing Director of the Indigo Press. A London-based editor and critic, she was on the judging panel of the 2017 International Dublin Literary Award and the 2015 Man Booker Prize.

In 2016, she was Visiting Professor & Global Intercultural Scholar at Goshen College, Indiana, and was Guest Master for the 2016 Gabriel Garcia Marquez Foundation international journalism fellowship in Cartagena, Colombia. The former deputy editor of Granta magazine, she was senior editor at Jonathan Cape, Random House and assistant editor at Penguin.

She is series editor of the Kwani? Manuscript Project and the editor of the anthologies Africa39 (Bloomsbury, 2014) and Safe House: Explorations in Creative Nonfiction (Dundurn/Cassava Republic).

Her journalism has appeared in the Telegraph, Guardian and Observer newspapers and in Spectator and The Griffith Review magazines, and she is a contributor to the 2019 anthology New Daughters of Africa. She has also been a regular contributor to the books pages of NPR. Her broadcasting includes reviews for NPR’s All Things Considered and BBC Radio 4's Saturday Review.

She sat on the selection panel for the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Fellowship for seven years and served as a literature selector for the Rolex 2014–15 Mentor & Protégée Initiative, as well as serving as chair of the Miles Morland Foundation Scholarship Selection panel for three years. She sits on the Advisory board for Art for Amnesty and the Editorial Advisory Panel of the Johannesburg Review of Books and the Lagos Review of Books.

In 2011 she was awarded an OBE for services to the publishing industry and was made and Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2019.

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