PEN America has announced the longlist for its 2017 prizes, and there is a plethora of African authors named: from Teju Cole to Yaa Gyasi to Imbolo Mbue to Igoni A. Barrett to Petina Gappah to Helen Oyeyemi.
Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing is longlisted for the $25,000 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction, awarded “to an author whose debut work—a first novel or collection of short stories published in 2016—represents distinguished literary achievement and suggests great promise.”
Teju Cole’s Known and Strange Things is up for the $10,000 PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay, awarded “for a book of essays published in 2016 that exemplifies the dignity and esteem that the essay form imparts to literature.”
The $5,000 PEN Open Book Award, given “for an exceptional book-length work of literature by an author of color published in 2016,” is where the party heats up. Igoni A. Barrett’s Blackass, Petina Gappah’s The Book of Memory, Imbolo Mbue’s Behold the Dreamers, Helen Oyeyemi’s story collection What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours are all chosen.
Congratulations to the longlisted authors!