Judges 2021

Chair: Karen McCarthy Woolf
Born in London to English and Jamaican parents Karen McCarthy Woolf is a poet, broadcaster and editor of five literary anthologies. Her poems are translated into Spanish, Turkish, Italian, Dutch and Swedish. Her collection An Aviary of Small Birds was described as a ‘pitch perfect’ début (Guardian); her latest, Seasonal Disturbances explores climate crisis, migration, the city and the sacred and was a finalist in the inaugural Laurel Prize for ecological poetry. Karen is a Fulbright postdoctoral Scholar at UCLA where she is Writer in Residence for the Promise Institute for Human Rights.

Makhosazana Xaba

Makhosazana Xaba is an anthologist, essayist, poet and short story writer who has published three collections of poetry: These hands, Tongues of their Mothers, and The Alkalinity of Bottled Water. Forthcoming in 2021 is her fourth collection The Art of Waiting for Tales: Found Poetry from Grace, the Novel. She has compiled and edited six anthologies. The poetry-centred anthologies are: Like the untouchable wind: an anthology of poems and the most recent, ground breaking Our Words, Our Worlds: Writing on Black South African Women Poets, 2000 – 2018 has received public acclaim and is considered an “instant classic”.

Xaba’s work is taught at universities in South Africa and internationally. Her poetry is anthologized extensively and it has been translated into six languages. She has served as a judge for poetry competitions and anthologies. She holds a MA in Creative Writing (with distinction) from Wits University and is a patron of the Johannesburg Review of Books. She enjoys writing across genres while using a feminist lens in her practice. She is currently a Research Associate at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WiSER) 

Rustum Kozain

Rustum Kozain was born in Paarl, South Africa and holds an MA in English Literature and Language from the University of Cape Town, South Africa. He has published two volumes of poetry, This Carting Life (2005) and Groundwork (2012), both from Kwela/ Snailpress, and each garnering the Olive Schreiner Prize, as well as, respectively, the Ingrid Jonker Prize and the Herman Charles Bosman Prize (Media24 Books, in-house). He has also published an anthology of South African short stories and an anthology of poetry in English for use in high schools in South Africa (Oxford University Press SA, 2006, 2015). His poetry has appeared in translation in French, German, Indonesian, Italian, and Spanish. He works as a freelance copy-editor and lives in Cape Town.