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jazzmoon

When Joe Okonkwo’s debut novel, Jazz Moon, came out last year, we covered it in an interview. Now, we are excited that it has been named a finalist in the Gay Fiction category of the 29th LAMBDA Literary Awards.

David Ebershoff, author of The Danish Girl, describes the novel as “passionate, alive, and original.” Jazz Moon follows a gay poet’s journey in the 1920s from the American South to Harlem and then to Paris. The novel features a range of complex of characters navigating art, love, and race during the Jazz Age. Joe Okonkwo’s writing has earned enviable comparisons to Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, James Baldwin and Richard Wright.

The LAMBDA Literary Awards recognizes work centered on non-heterosexual experiences. Chinelo Okparanta is a two-time winner of the Lesbian Fiction category. She first won in 2014 for her short story collection Happiness, Like Water, and then in 2016 for her debut novel Under the Udala Trees. [read here if you missed it.]

Okonkwo, who is Prose Editor at Newtown Literary as well as Series Editor of Lethe Press’ 2017 Best Gay Stories anthology, is up against Rabih Alameddine, for The Angel of History; Darryl Pinckney, for Black Deutschland; Sarah Schulman, for The Cosmopolitans; Matthew Griffin, for Hide; Sjón, for Moonstone; Jonathan Corcoran, for The Rope Swing; and Garth Greenwell, for What Belongs To You.

Huge congratulations to Joe Okonkwo. We are rooting for him and really do hope he wins.

See all the finalists on LAMBDA’s Website.

Jazz Moon is published by Kensington Books. Read an excerpt HERE.

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About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young is a writer, 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 ("You Sing of a Longing," 2017), for which he was shortlisted. His work has further been shortlisted for the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship in 2016 and a Pushcart Prize in 2015. His conversations appear in Africa in Dialogue, Bakwa, 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. Born in Aba, he combined history and literature at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, is currently completing a postgraduate programme in African Studies, and teaches English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. When bored, he just Googles Rihanna.

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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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