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To mark the celebration of June as the LGBTQ Pride Month, the University of Winscosin’s African Studies Program posted on its website an article titled “Celebrating Queer Africa.” The aim of the article is “to highlight the intersections of Africanist scholarship, African art, LGBTQ+ Pride, activism and advocacy on the African continent and throughout its diasporas.” In it are brief highlights of film, art and activism centering on queer people.

In the literature section, the University highlighted the poetry of Nigeria’s Romeo Oriogun and the Somali-Australian Sahro Ali, both of whom were shortlisted for the 2016 Brunel Prize, with Romeo going on to win it. There is also a shout-out to the Lambda Literary Award-winning anthology Queer Africa: New and Collected Fiction.

Here is what they wrote.

The celebrated Brunel International African Poetry Prize has showcased, for the first time in its short history, the work of queer African poets. This year’s judges say that “the Prize has always wanted to celebrate LGBTQ poetry, which has finally come to the fore with two poets bravely and powerfully exploring openly queer themes.” These two poets are short-listed: Somali-Australian poet Sahro Ali and the 2017 prize winner, Romeo Oriogun, from Nigeria. He was selected for his “beautiful and passionate writing on masculinity and desire in the face of LGBT criminalisation and persecution.” Oriogun is the author of an online poetry chapbook, Burnt Men, and has been published and featured on brittlepaper.com.

Queer Africa: New and Collected Fiction is a Lambda Literary Award-winning anthology of “unafraid stories of intimacy, sweat, betrayal and restless confidences.” Queer Africa II is due for publication out of MaThoko Books, a South African publishing imprint committed to sharing the writing of queer African authors.

Congratulations to Romeo and Sahro. It is beautiful to see their work so recognized.

See the full article HERE.

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About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young 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. 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, YOU SING OF A LONGING, and is working on a novel. He is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. 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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