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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!

 

Read the full announcement here.

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About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young is a writer, an academic, and Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review ("Mulumba," 2016), Transition ("A Tenderer Blessing," 2015), and in an anthology of the Gerald Kraak Award for which he was shortlisted ("You Sing of a Longing," 2017). His work has further been shortlisted for the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship in 2016 and a Pushcart Prize in 2015. He attended the 2018 Miles Morland Foundation Creative Writing Workshop. He is the curator of the ART NAIJA SERIES, a sequence of themed e-anthologies of writing and visual art exploring different aspects of Nigerianness. The first, ENTER NAIJA: THE BOOK OF PLACES (October, 2016), focuses on cities in Nigeria. The second, WORK NAIJA: THE BOOK OF VOCATIONS (June, 2017), focuses on professions in Nigeria. He studied History and Literature at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, is currently completing a postgraduate programme in African Studies and Pop Culture, and teaches English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. He has completed a collection of short stories, YOU SING OF A LONGING, and is working on a novel. He is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. When bored, he just Googles Rihanna.

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  1. Teju Cole, Petina Gappah, Yaa Gyasi, Helen Oyeyemi Named Finalists in PEN/America’s Literary Awards | The Nigerian Eye Newspaper: Breaking news in Nigeria as well as Nigerian News, ghana news, information and opinion on sports, business, politics and mo - 2017/01/23

    […] December, we announced the longlists of the 2017 PEN America literary awards. The lists of finalists are now out, and thankfully, a few of our favorite authors are still in the […]

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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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