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Past Winners

Samson Kambalu (Authors, 2013)

Samson Kambalu is a Malawi-born author who trained as a fine artist and ethnomusicologist at the University of Malawi's Chancellor College.


Based in London, the artist and author Samson Kambalu studied at the University of Malawi (BA Fine Art and Ethnomusicology, 1995-99); Nottingham Trent University (MA Fine Art, 2002-03) and Chelsea College of Art and Design (PhD, 2011 – 15).

His first book, The Jive Talker, was published in 2008 by Jonathan Cape in the UK and by Free Press in the USA.

Kambalu’s work originates from the Protestant tradition of inquiry, criticism, and rebellion that he inherited from a rapidly Christianising contemporary Sub-Saharan Africa of his childhood. Manifesting in various media, from drawing, painting, installation, video to literature and performance the work playfully employs excess, transgression, humour and wit to test the boundaries of received ideas regarding history, art, identity, religion and individual freedom.

The most well known of his artworks is Holy Ball, a football plastered in pages of the Bible. Kambalu held an exhibition of 24

"Holy Balls" at Chancellor College in 2000 at which he invited the visitors to “exercise and exorcise”. He has since shown his work internationally.

Kambalu’s AHRC funded PhD (2011-15), looks at the general economy in Meschac Gaba’s Museum of Contempory African Art and imagines the 13th missing room of the museum.