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The Nigerian queer art collective 14, which is set to release its second volume this week, has shared its cover, featuring snippets from Taiye Selasi and 2016 Brunel Prize winner Gbenga Adesina. The cover image is by the South African photographer Mal Muga, with the design by the Nigeria visual artist Osinachi, whose work we’ve published in the Art Naija Series. Both artists are contributors to the anthology.

In her snippet, Selasi writes:

Can you imagine the day, for which I long, when you can walk unmasked among us? Your truth our truth. Your hurt our wound.

In his, Gbenga Adesina writes:

Our society, societies everywhere, say love is love but within a certain social sanction. I say love is love.

An intensely secretive group whose editors use pseudonyms, 14 took its name from the 14-year jail term prescribed by Nigeria’s same-sex marriage prohibition law, and releases an anthology of writing and visual art—published by Brittle Paper—to commemorate that act of oppression. In January 2017, they released their Volume 1, themed We Are Flowers, a project met with astounding reception. An essay from the anthology was shortlisted for the Brittle Paper Anniversary Award. This Volume 2, themed The Inward Gaze, collects works by a host of exciting, familiar names on the literary scene, all of which appear on the cover in what is a break from the Collective’s tradition of secrecy.

Among the contributors are the novelist and activist Unoma Azuah, writing professor at Illinois Institute of Art, Chicago and editor of Blessed Body: The Secret Lives of Nigerian Gay, Lesian, Bisexual and Transgender (2016), the first anthology documenting queer Nigerians, and Mounting the Moon (2017), Nigeria’s first poetry anthology about queerness. There is also Chike Frankie Edozien, journalism professor at New York University and author of Lives of Great Men (2017), Nigeria’s first memoir to focus on gay men. And there are: Arinze Ifeakandu, finalist for the 2017 Caine Prize and the 2017 Brittle Paper Award for Fiction; Kiprop Kimutai, finalist for the 2017 Miles Morland Scholarship and the 2018 Gerald Kraak Award; Karen Jennings, 2013 Etisalat Prize-shortlisted author of Finding Soutbek (2012); Troy Onyango, a founding editor of Enkare Review and finalist for the 2016 Miles Morland Scholarship and the 2017 Brittle Paper Award for Creative Nonfiction; the poets Chisom Okafor and Ebenezer Agu, both of whom we have published; and Brittle Paper deputy editor Otosirieze Obi-Young, finalist for the 2016 Miles Morland Scholarship and 2017 Gerald Kraak Award.

If this cover is anything to go by—and it is!—then this anthology will be everything.

We can’t wait.

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About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young is a writer, journalist, & Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. The recipient of the inaugural The Future Awards Prize for Literature in 2019, he is a judge for The Gerald Kraak Prize and was a judge for The Morland Writing Scholarship in 2019. He is Nonfiction 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 Curator at 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 work in queer equality advocacy in literature has been profiled in Literary Hub. 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 has an M.A. in African Studies and a combined honours B.A. in History & International Studies/English & Literary Studies, both from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He taught English in a private Nigerian university. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts writing and editing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze. When bored, he Googles Rihanna.

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