Congrats to Chigozie Obioma for winning the Financial Times Emerging Voices Award. He won the high-profile prize for his novel The Fishermen, one of the most successful debuts in the contemporary African literary scene.
The novel has been embraced by readers and critics in Europe and America. And Cassava Republic is already working on a Nigerian edition, which they plan to release next year.
This win comes ahead of the announcement of the Man Booker Prize, for which Obioma has been shortlisted.
The FT/OppenheimerFunds Emerging Voices awards individuals in the creative industry doing interesting work. It is a stiffly competitive prize—Obioma being one of three to emerge winner from a batch of 872 entries.
The Fishermen is a dark, family drama chronicling the gradual loss of trust and familial bonds among four brothers. During the interview at the award ceremony, Obioma mentions writing the novel as a tribute to the bond among his own brothers.
Lorien Kite, who wrote a glowing review of the book for Financial Times, says The Fishermen is a novel of “vivid images.” He also seemed pleased by the way Obioma seamlessly weaves the supernatural and the mythic into everyday life. Obioma, Kite suggests, is a fascinating blend of two seemingly opposing African literary influences—Amos Tutuola and Chinua Achebe.
Congrats to Obioma!
Watch Obioma being interviewed at the award.
Post image via University of Nebraska News Room