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Ellen Banda-Aaku
Ellen Banda

Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character "{". 6 May 1965 (6 May 1965-{{{month}}}-{{{day}}}) (age Error: Need valid year, month, day)
Alma mater University of Zambia(BA), Middlesex University(MA), University of Cape Town(MA)
Occupation Author

Ellen Banda-Aaku (born Ellen Banda, 6 May 1965) is a Zambian writer who was born in the UK and grew up in Africa. She is the author of two novels and several books for children, and has had short stories published in anthologies and other outlets.


Born in Woking, Surrey, in 1965, she was the middle child of three, and grew up in Zambia. She was educated at the University of Zambia, where she obtained her BA in Public Administration, and she also holds an MA in Financial Management with Social Policy from Middlesex University and an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Cape Town.

Writing career

Ellen Banda-Aaku's first book, Wandi's Little Voice, won the Macmillan Writer's Prize for Africa in 2004. Of the title, the judges stated that the author's style reveals a rare gift for revealing the truth and contradictions at the core of human relationships. In 2007 she won the Commonwealth Short Story Competition for her story "Sozi's Box". Her first novel, Patchwork, won the 2010 Penguin Prize for African Writing and was shortlisted for the 2012 Commonwealth Book Prize. Patchwork is currently being translated into German. In 2006 Banda-Aaku sat on the judging panel for the Macmillan Writer's Prize for Africa. African Writing Online, many literatures, one voice In 2012 she was awarded the Zambia Arts Council Chairpersons Ngoma Award for her outstanding achievements in literature. She has conducted creative writing workshops in Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia.

Her short stories have been published in anthologies in Australia, South Africa, the UK and the US, including in New Daughters of Africa (edited by Margaret Busby, 2019). She has won several awards for her writing, including the Macmillan Writers Prize for Africa – Most Promising New Writer Award in 2004, Commonwealth Short Story Competition in 2007 and Penguin Prize for African Writing in 2010. She was also nominated for the Commonwealth Book Prize in 2012. In July 2020 Banda-Aaku was announced as chair of the panel judges for the Kalemba Short Story Prize 2020.

Published works

Short stories

  • "Sozi's Box" (winner of the 2007 Commonwealth Short Story Competition). Published in Cousins Across the Seas, Phoenix Education, Australia, 2008.
  • "Lost", in Jambula Tree and other stories, The Caine Prize for African Writing, 8th Annual Collection, Jacana Press, South Africa.
  • "Made of Mukwa", in The Bed Book of Short Stories, Modjaji Books, South Africa.
  • "Ngomwa", in African Women Writing Resistance: Contemporary Voices, Wisconsin Press, USA.
  • "87 Tangmere Court", in New Daughters of Africa, 2019.


  • Patchwork, Penguin Publishers, South Africa, 2011. .
  • Madam 1st Lady, 2016. ,

Books for children

  • Wandi’s Little Voice, Macmillan Educational Publishers, UK, 2004.
  • Yours Faithfully Yogi, East African Educational Publishers, Kenya, 2008.
  • Twelve Months, Oxford University Press, Kenya, 2010.
  • Lula & Lebo, Head and Shoulders, Puo Publishing, South Africa.
  • E is for e-waste, Worldreader, online publication.
  • Sula and Ja, Farafina Tuuti (Kachifo Limited) and Worldreader.
  • Browdy de Henandez, J., P. Dongala, O. Jolaosho, & A. Serafin (eds), 2010. African Writing Resistance Contemporary Voices, Wisconsin: Wisconsin Press.
  • Danro, A., 2011. "Ellen Banda-Aaku: A gifted writer", Times of Zambia, Lusaka. 26 February.
  • Kwei. R., 2004. "Women Here And There: Ellen Wins Macmillan’s Children’s Writer Award", Daily Graphic, Accra. 25 March.
  • Malan, R., ed. 2009. A – Z of African Writers: A guide to modern African writing in English. South Africa, Shuter & Shooter.
  • The Best of Zambia. 2011. Global Village Encyclopaedia GVPedia, Lusaka, Image Promotions.
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