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Geoff Ryman and Tom Ilube congratulate Chimurenga on their Best Comic or Graphic Novel win.

The announcement of the winners of the inaugural Nommo Awards took place at the ongoing 2017 Ake Arts and Book Festival in Abeokuta, Nigeria. The Nommo Awards, founded in 2016 by the African Speculative Fiction Society (ASFS), recognise the finest fantasy or science fiction works by Africans. The ASFS is a body of African writers, editors, publishers and graphic artists who nominate shortlisted works and vote for the winners. The awards are given in four categories: the US$1000 Best Novel named after the awards benefactor Tom Ilube, the US$500 Best Novella, the US$500 Best Short Story, and the US$1000 Best Comic or Graphic Novel.

ASFS members nominated their favourite works in the four categories, and the works with the most nominations made the shortlist. The members then voted over the next three months for the winner in each category. Nineteen works were nominated across the four categories.

The winners were announced at the formal Welcome Ceremony of Ake Festival, which had in attendance Nnedi Okorafor who was nominated, Tom Ilube, and Geoff Ryman—creative writing lecturer in Manchester University and recipient of the Arthur C Clarke Award, the British Science Fiction Award and the Nebula Award—who introduced The Manchester Review‘s Issue 18 which focused on African speculative fiction. The three took to the stage for the announcement, to ovation for Nnedi Okorafor.

Nnedi Okorafor announces a winner at the Nommo Awards.

Nnedi Okorafor made the first announcement, for the $1000 Best Comic or Graphic Novel. The nominees: Avonome, written by Xavier Ighorodje, illustrated by Stanley Obende and published by the Comic Republic; The Corpse Exhibition, published as Chimurenga Chronic‘s Issue 3 and edited by Ntone Edjabe; June 12, by Ibrahim Ganiyu, Chike Newman Nwankwo and Akinwade Ayodeji Akinola, and published by Vortex; Might of Guardian Prime‘s Issues 1-8, published by the Comic Republic—Issue 1 written by Ozo Ezeogu and illustrated by Jide Martin, Issues 2-6 written by Toheeb Deen Ipaye and illustrated by Jide Martin, and Issues 7-8 written by Wale Awelenje and illustrated by Stanley Obende. The winner: The Corpse Exhibition, edited by Ntone Edjabe.

Nnedi went on to make the announcement for the $500 Best Short Story. The nominees: “The Marriage Plot” by Tendai Huchu; “Ndakusuwa” by Blaize Kaye; “Sundown” by Innocent Immaculate Acan; “Who Will Greet You at Home?” by Lesley Nneka Arimah; and “Wednesday’s Story” by Wole Talabi. It was a joint win: “The Marriage Plot” by Tendai Huchu and “Who Will Greet You at Home?” by Lesley Nneka Arimah.

A section of the audience.

Tom Ilube took over for the announcement for the $500 Best Novella. The nominees: Binti by Nnedi Okorafor; The Flying Man of Stone by Dilman Dila; Hell Freezes Over by Mame Bougouma Diene; The Last Pantheon by Tade Thompson and Nick Wood; and Ta O’reva by Muthi Nhlema. The winner was as expected: Binti by Nnedi Okorafor.

Tom Ilube went on to make the announcement for the $1,000 Ilube Award for Best Novel. The nominees: Azanian Bridges by Nick Wood; Azotus, the Kingdom by Shadreck Chikoti; Blackass by A Igoni Barrett, whose name is received with ovation; Rosewater by Tade Thompson; and Taty Went West by Nikhil Singh. The winner:  Rosewater by Tade Thompson.

Congratulations to Nnedi Okorafor, Lesley Nneka Arimah, Ntone Edjabe and Chimurenga Chronic, Tendai Huchu, and Tade Thompson.

Here are more photos.


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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.

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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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