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Some of the winners of the 2017 PEN America awards have been announced and, to our delight, they include Helen Oyeyemi, Angela Ajayi and Grace Oluseyi.

Helen Oyeyemi’s collection of stories, What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours, won the $5,000 PEN Open Book Award, given “for an exceptional book-length work of literature by an author of color published in 2016.”

We covered Aaron Bady’s review of it here.

Angela Ajayi and Grace Oluseyi were among the winners of the $2,000-each PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers, awarded “to recognize 12 emerging fiction writers for their debut short story published in 2016.” Angela Ajayi’s story, “Galina,” published in Fifth Wednesday Journal, is an immersive study of the sense of loss in a daughter’s relationship with her mother. Grace Oluseyi’s “A Modern Marriage,” out in Boston Review, is a neat stitch of a girl’s relationship with, and eventual marriage to, her academic superior in the US who she later discovers is already married in Nigeria.

A few of the awards, including the $75,000 PEN/Jean Stein Book Award given “to recognize a book-length work of any genre for its originality, merit, and impact” for which Teju Cole’s Known and Strange Things is shortlisted, will be announced on March 27.

We congratulate Helen Oyeyemi, Angela Ajayi and Grace Oluseyi!

Read Grace Oluseyi’s “A Modern Marriage” in Boston Review.

See the full list of winners here.

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Post image by Ubud Writers & Readers Festival via Flickr

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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 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 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.

One Response to “Helen Oyeyemi, Angela Ajayi and Grace Oluseyi Win 2017 PEN America Awards” Subscribe

  1. Kthanxbye 2017/03/14 at 13:46 #

    Grace Oluseyi’s story in the Boston Review was the best story I’ve read in a loooong time. The woman can write. Ahn-ahn. Can’t wait to read more from her.

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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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