Subscribe to Newsletter
Monthly Newsletter: Join more than 3,000 African literature enthusiasts!
Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our "Guide to African Novels."

Ayobami-Adebayo-Baileys-Women-Prize-Ventures-Africa

The 2017 Baileys Prize shortlist was announced yesterday and, to our wild excitement, Ayobami Adebayo’s debut novel Stay with Me is on it. The 28-year-old’s inclusion makes her the fourth African ever, in the prize’s twenty-one-year existence, to be shortlisted, joining Nigeria’s Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (in 2004 for Purple Hibiscus, in 2007 when she won for Half of a Yellow Sun, and in 2014 for Americanah), Sierra Leonean-Scottish Aminatta Forna (in 2011 for The Memory of Love), and Ghanaian-Canadian Esi Edugyan (in 2012 for Half Blood Blues). Like Adichie in 2004, Ayobami is the only debut novelist on the list.

The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, once the Orange Prize for Fiction, is one of the most prestigious literary prizes and is open to only women writing in English. Aside from its 30,000 pounds prize-money, winning it is an automatic career-changer in terms of publicity and, crucially, regard. The Guardian explains that a novel that might only sell 2,000 copies could sell 500,000 if it wins the Baileys women’s prize for fiction or the Man Booker prize. And it has also been publicized that the Baileys Prize winners outsell winners of the Booker.

BookReview-stay-463x372

Here is a description of Ayobami’s Stay with Me by its publishers Penguin Random House.

In the spirit of Chris Cleave’s Little Bee and Emma Donoghue’s Room, this unforgettable novel set in Nigeria gives voice to both husband and wife as they tell the story of their marriage–and the forces that threaten to tear it apart.

Yejide and Akin have been married since they met and fell in love at university. Though many expected Akin to take several wives, he and Yejide have always agreed: polygamy is not for them. But four years into their marriage–after consulting fertility doctors and healers, trying strange teas and unlikely cures–Yejide is still not pregnant. She assumes she still has time–until her family arrives on her doorstep with a young woman they introduce as Akin’s second wife. Furious, shocked, and livid with jealousy, Yejide knows the only way to save her marriage is to get pregnant. Which, finally, she does–but at a cost far greater than she could have dared to imagine. An electrifying novel of enormous emotional power, Stay With Me asks how much we can sacrifice for the sake of family.

On the longlist with Ayobami was Yewande Omotoso’s The Woman Next Door. With Ayobami on the shortlist now is the winner of the 2000 prize Linda Grant, for The Dark Circle; Naomi Alder, for The Power; C.E. Morgan, for The Sport of Kings; Gwendoline Riley, for First Love; and Madeleine Thiene, for the 2016 Booker-shortlisted Do Not Say We Have Nothing.

Coincidentally, one of the prize’s previous African finalists, Aminatta Forna, is on the panel of judges, alongside journalist Sam Baker, comedian Sara Pascoe, broadcaster Katie Derham, and the chair Tessa Ross.

The prize, which after this year will no longer be sponsored by the liqueur company Baileys, was won in 2016 by Lisa McInerny for The Glorious Heresies. The 2017 winner will be announced on June 7 at the Royal Festival Hall in London.

Needless to say, we are rooting for Ayobami. Congratulations to her for this remarkable feat!

*****

Post image from Ventures Africa via Google.

Book photo from Press and Journal via Google.

Tags: ,

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.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Welcome to Brittle Paper, your go-to site for African writing and literary culture. We bring you all the latest news and juicy updates on publications, authors, events, prizes, and lifestyle. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@brittlepaper) and sign up for our "I love African Literature" newsletter.

Monthly Newsletter!

Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our
"Guide to African Novels."

Archives

Erotic Africa: The Sex Anthology | Read e-Book Exploring Millennial Sex Culture and Romance in African Cities

erotic-africa

Much has been said about the state of sex in African literature: whether African novelists are keen on sex, why […]

Zimbabwean Mapping Project Documents the Movements of Dambudzo Marechera in Harare

dambudzo marechera - graph

An unusual mapping project has documented the movements of Dambudzo Marechera in Harare. “Home Means Nothing to Me,” published in […]

Cyprian Ekwensi’s The Passport of Mallam Ilia Gets Animation Movie | Watch Teaser

The Passport of Mallam Ilia - animation

Cyprian Ekwensi’s popular novel The Passport of Mallam Ilia is being made into an animated movie. Premium Times reports that the 2D […]

Yrsa Daley-Ward’s The Terrible Makes Vogue’s Must-Read Books of 2018

yrsa daley-ward - image by Laurel Grolio for Girls At Library

Nigerian-Jamaican model-turned-Instapoet Yrsa Daley-Ward’s memoir The Terrible: A Storyteller’s Memoir has been named among Vogue magazine’s Must-Read Books of 2018. The follow […]

Film Adaptation of Soyinka’s Ake: The Years of Childhood, by Dapo Adeniyi, Tells the Story of the Legend as a Child in the 1940s | Watch Trailer 

Egba women wait on Mrs Kuti at the outset of the women’s riot3

The film adaptation of Wole Soyinka’s 1981 memoir Ake: The Years of Childhood is now available on Amazon. Set during the World […]

Erotic Africa: The Sex Anthology Forthcoming in December

erotic-africa

Twelve months after the call for submissions was made in January, we are happy to announce that Erotic Africa: The Sex […]

Thanks for signing up!

Never miss out on new posts. Subscribe to a digest, too:

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.