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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.



Post image by Ubud Writers & Readers Festival via Flickr

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Otosirieze Nnaemekaram 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 facilitated by Giles Foden. 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 and is working on a 600-page novel. When bored, he 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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