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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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Otosirieze is deputy editor of Brittle Paper. He is a judge for the 2018/19 Gerald Kraak Prize. He is an editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective, which has published volumes including We Are Flowers (2017) and The Inward Gaze (2018). He is the curator of the Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies of writing and visual art focusing on different aspects of Nigerianness, including Enter Naija: The Book of Places (2016), which explores cities, and Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (2017), which explores professions. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition. He has completed a collection of short stories, You Sing of a Longing, is working on a novel, and is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He combined English and History at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, is completing a postgraduate degree in African Studies, and taught English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts writing and editing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze. When bored, he 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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