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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 is a writer, journalist, & Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. The recipient of the inaugural The Future Awards Prize for Literature in 2019, he is a judge for The Gerald Kraak Prize and was a judge for The Morland Writing Scholarship in 2019. He is Nonfiction 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 Curator at 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 work in queer equality advocacy in literature has been profiled in Literary Hub. 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 has an M.A. in African Studies and a combined honours B.A. in History & International Studies/English & Literary Studies, both from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He taught English in a private Nigerian university. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts writing and editing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze. When bored, he Googles Rihanna.

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

  1. Kthanxbye March 14, 2017 at 1:46 pm #

    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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