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African Author Prize

The African Author Prize is awarded for the best article published in the journal by an author based in an African institution, or an African Ph.D student based in an overseas university. The prize is in recognition of excellent African scholarship, which often does not reach audiences outside the African continent. To the extent possible, the prize committee will prioritize scholars at the beginning of their career.

The prize will be awarded every second year, for the best article published in the previous two year period. Thus, the first winning article was chosen from those articles published in the calendar years 2008-2009, and was conferred at the ASAUK conference in 2010. The awarding committee included Richard Dowden (Director of Royal African Society), Meghan Vaughan [President of The African Studies Association of the United Kingdom (ASAUK)], Nicoli Nattrass (Member of the Editorial Board), and the editors of African Affairs.

The winner received a cash prize of £500, one year's free subscription to African Affairs, an economy airfare to London, and £500 for expenses to attend the ASAUK Conference in Oxford. The runner-up received one year's free subscription to the journal.

2016 Winner

2014-2015 Prize

This prize was awarded at the ASAUK 2016 Conference.

The 2014-2015 African Author Prize was awarded to Biniam E. Bedasso for the article Ethnicity, intra-elite differentiation and political stability in Kenya. Read the article for free here.

This year's prize committee included the editors of African Affairs, the Director of the Royal African Society, Richard Dowden, and the President of the African Studies Association of the UK, David Maxwell.

Despite strong competition from other excellent articles, the paper by Biniam Bedasso won out for three reasons. First, it takes on and engages with the existing literature in an interesting and challenging way. Second, it is theoretically ambitious and sophisticated. Third, it successfully integrates theory and empirical material in a way that is powerful and persuasive. We are sure that the article will go on to shape the literature on Kenya and beyond.

Previous Prize Winning Articles

Prize winning articles from previous years are also available freely online.

The 2008-2009 African Author Prize was awarded to George M. Bob-Milliar for the article Chieftaincy, Diaspora, and Development: The Institution of Nkusuohene in Ghana. Read the article for free here.

The 2008-2009 African Author Prize runner-up was Lephophotho Mashike for Age of Despair: the Unintegrated Forces of South Africa. Read the article for free here.

The 2010-2011 African Author Prize was awarded to Samson A. Bezabeh for the article Citizenship and the Logic of Sovereignty in Djibouti. Read the article for free here.

The 2010-2011 African Author Prize runner-up was J. Shola Omotola for Elections and democratic transition in Nigeria under the Fourth Republic. Read the article for free here.

The 2012-2013 African Author Prize was awarded to awarded to Peace Medie for the article Fighting gender-based violence: The women's movement and the enforcement of rape law in Liberia. Read the article for free here.

The 2012-2013 African Author Prize runner-up was Euclides Gonçalves for Orientações superiores: Time and bureaucratic authority in Mozambique. Read the article for free here.


The next African Author Prize will be awarded at the ASAUK 2018 Conference.

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Lindsay Whitfield
Carl Death

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African Arguments Online is a moderated website hosted by the Royal African Society, supporting blogs and debate on topics relating to Africa.