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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 was born in Aba, Nigeria and attended the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. A finalist for the 2016 Miles Morland Writing Scholarship, his short stories include: “A Tenderer Blessing,” which appears in Transition Magazine and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2015; “Mulumba,” which appears in The Threepenny Review; and “You Sing of a Longing,” which was shortlisted for the inaugural Gerald Kraak Award and appears in Pride and Prejudice, an anthology by The Jacana Literary Foundation and The Other Foundation. His essays appear in Interdisciplinary Academic Essays and in Brittle Paper where he is Deputy Editor. His interviews appear in Africa in Dialogue, Bakwa Magazine, SPRINNG, and Dwartonline. He is the editor 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 Nigerian cities. The second, Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (June 2017), focuses on professions in Nigeria. A postgraduate student of African Studies, he currently teaches English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu, Nigeria. When bored, he blogs pop culture at naijakulture.blogspot.com or just Googles Rihanna.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  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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