Ellen Banda-Aaku was born in the United Kingdom in 1965. At the age of two she moved back to Zambia with her parents where she grew up and went to school in the capital Lusaka. After she graduated from the University of Zambia with a BA in Public Administration, Ellen returned to the UK where she studied for an MA in Financial Management and Social Policy. More recently she graduated from the University of Cape Town with an MA in Creative Writing.
Ellen’s first book Wandi’s Little Voice, won the Macmillan Writer’s Prize for Africa in 2004. In 2007 Ellen 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 short-listed for the 2012 Commonwealth Book Prize. Patchwork is currently being translated into German. In 2012 told Banda-Aaku was awarded the Zambia Arts Council Chairpersons Ngoma Award for her outstanding achievements in literature.
Ellen 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. She is currently working on a compilation of the personal stories of people who have been touched by cancer in Zambia.