Claire is pictured holding All Over Again by A-dZiko Simba Gegele - CODE's Burt Award for Caribbean Literature 2014 winning book.
Claire is originally from Nairobi, Kenya. She joined CODE in 2012 and currently manages the Burt Award for African Literature in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya and Tanzania –working in close arms with CODE’s partner organizations in those countries. Claire holds an MA degree in International Development and Globalization from the University of Ottawa, and a B.A (Honours) degree in International Studies, with a minor in Economics, from the State University of New York in Oswego.
Growing up, Claire was an avid reader and remembers devouring Nancy Drew books when she should have been doing her homework! The book which made the greatest impact on her was “Purple Hibiscus” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie because it introduced her to contemporary female African writers. Another favourite of Claire’ s is All Over Again by A-Dziko Simba Gegele, 1st place winner of the 2014 Burt Award for Caribbean literature. “I was totally drawn into the story by Gegele’s imagery and language. It reminded me of what it was like to see life through the eyes of a young kid. After reading it, I thought ‘wow', this is what the Burt Award is all about. We are giving visibility to high-quality books and giving youth the opportunity to read them.”
Claire is passionate about high-quality education because it equips individuals to effect positive change in themselves and in their communities. She also recognizes the positive impact a teacher can have on a student, such as her 8th grade Math teacher Mrs. Kent, who not only expected excellence from her students, but also cared about them as individuals. When she is not working at CODE, Claire, alongside her husband, reaches out to isolated seniors. They have adopted a series of retirement homes in Ottawa where they hold one-hour sessions of singing and sharing words of encouragement with the residents.
“It is not easy to hold a meeting with yourself and come out with a proper decision.”
– Ama Ata Aidoo, ‘Choosing’ in The Girl Who Can and Other Stories