SOAS University of London

Dovey Wins Major Prize for Outstanding Scholarship in African Film and Literature

3 November 2011
Lindiwe Dovey

Dr Lindiwe Dovey has been awarded a prestigious Philip Leverhulme Prize for her work in African and postcolonial film and literature.

The Leverhulme Trust awards the prizes each year to "outstanding scholars who have made a substantial and recognised contribution to their particular field of study, recognised at an international level, and where the expectation is that their greatest achievement is yet to come."  

The Leverhulme Trust awarded just 30 prizes in six disciplines this year. Winners each receive £70,000 in prize money.

"I was shocked but delighted to win the award and will strive to do it justice," said Dr Dovey, who is Senior Lecturer in African Film and Performance Arts.

She said she plans to use the prize to continue research on two topics.

The first is the adaptation of literary and non-literary works into audiovisual media in Africa and amongst the African diaspora in Europe. She is looking, for example, at the way that Ugandan video jockeys creatively reinvent the narratives of foreign films for local audiences in their live translation of them.

"The second research topic involves exploring the relationships among African film, filmmakers and festivals, since film festivals were central to the birth and conceptualisation of African film, but also have a problematic relationship to it," she said.

She added that sharing her research with the non-academic community continues to form a vital part of her work. She is programming director and co-director of Film Africa,  a film festival organised by the Royal African Society in association with SOAS. The festival launched on Thursday and is being held in venues across London through to 13 November.

Dr Dovey was nominated for the award by Professor of West African Linguistics Philip Jaggar.

"Every once in a while, a colleague or student comes along with genuine 'star-quality' (I hesitate to say 'the X factor')," Professor Jaggar said. "Lindiwe Dovey is in this category, and it was a pleasure to support her nomination for the prize."

Dr Dovey is no stranger to prestigious prizes.

In July of this year, she was awarded the SOAS Director's Teaching Prize.

Her book African Film and Literature: Adapting Violence to the Screen was named an Outstanding Academic Title for 2009 by Choice magazine, the preeminent review journal for academic libraries in North America.

The next round of Philip Leverhulme Prizes will be awarded in 2012.  Prizes will again be offered in six disciplines, though different ones from this year: Classics; Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences; History of Art; Law; Mathematics and Statistics; and Medieval, Early Modern and Modern History.