jazzmoon

When Joe Okonkwo’s debut novel, Jazz Moon, came out last year, we covered it in an interview. Now, we are excited that it has been named a finalist in the Gay Fiction category of the 29th LAMBDA Literary Awards.

David Ebershoff, author of The Danish Girl, describes the novel as “passionate, alive, and original.” Jazz Moon follows a gay poet’s journey in the 1920s from the American South to Harlem and then to Paris. The novel features a range of complex of characters navigating art, love, and race during the Jazz Age. Joe Okonkwo’s writing has earned enviable comparisons to Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, James Baldwin and Richard Wright.

The LAMBDA Literary Awards recognizes work centered on non-heterosexual experiences. Chinelo Okparanta is a two-time winner of the Lesbian Fiction category. She first won in 2014 for her short story collection Happiness, Like Water, and then in 2016 for her debut novel Under the Udala Trees. [read here if you missed it.]

Okonkwo, who is Prose Editor at Newtown Literary as well as Series Editor of Lethe Press’ 2017 Best Gay Stories anthology, is up against Rabih Alameddine, for The Angel of History; Darryl Pinckney, for Black Deutschland; Sarah Schulman, for The Cosmopolitans; Matthew Griffin, for Hide; Sjón, for Moonstone; Jonathan Corcoran, for The Rope Swing; and Garth Greenwell, for What Belongs To You.

Huge congratulations to Joe Okonkwo. We are rooting for him and really do hope he wins.

See all the finalists on LAMBDA’s Website.

Jazz Moon is published by Kensington Books. Read an excerpt HERE.

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Image by the author.

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About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young was shortlisted for the 2016 Miles Morland Writing Scholarship. His short story, "You Sing of a Longing," was shortlisted for the 2016 Gerald Kraak Award. His first published story, “A Tenderer Blessing,” appears in Transition magazine and was nominated for a 2015 Pushcart Prize. His second story, "Mulumba," appears in The Threepenny Review and has been translated into the German. His essays appear in Interdisciplinary Academic Essays and Brittle Paper where he is Submissions Editor. He is the editor of the Art Naija series, a sequence of anthologies of writing and visual art which document aspects of Nigerian life. The first anthology, Enter Naija: The Book of Places, explores cities and marked Nigeria's 56th Independence anniversary. The second anthology, Work Naija: The Book of Vocations, explores professions and is forthcoming in June 2017. Otosirieze teaches English at a Nigerian university. When bored, he blogs popular culture at naijakulture.blogspot.com or just Googles Rihanna.

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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

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