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The 2018 Gerald Kraak Award anthology cover collage.

Nigeria’s Pwaangulongii Dauod has won the 2018 Gerald Kraak Award for his fierce nonfiction piece, “Africa’s Future Has No Space for Stupid Black Men.” A shortlist of 15 artists and 22 pieces of journalism, fiction, nonfiction, photography, and poetry had been announced in December of last year.

Founded in 2016 by the Jacana Literary Foundation and the Other Foundation, in honour of the late activist Gerald Kraak, the R25 000 Gerald Kraak Award aims to honour writing and photography by Africans which “provoke thought on the topics of gender, social justice and sexuality.” The inaugural award went to Ugandan-born Kenyan photographer Sarah Waiswa and Kenyan writer Farah Ahamed. The inaugural anthology, Pride and Prejudice: African Perspectives on Gender, Social Justice and Sexuality, was launched in May of last year.

Dauod’s “Africa’s Future Has No Space for Stupid Black Men” was first published by Granta in July 2016 and unapologetically roused conversations about queerness and safe spaces. It was named among Brittle Paper‘s Notable Pieces of 2016 and shortlisted for the inaugural 2017 Brittle Paper Award for Creative Nonfiction. Here is what we wrote about it:

Seldom do so much heart and fierceness converge with such beauty as they do in this tear-jerking tribute to a dear friend in which the struggles of a confident, fearful community of LGBTIQ creatives is laid bare. Its calculated, crisp language compresses and releases anger in a build-up to an explosive climax, and all with an efficient balance of the political and the emotional.

This year’s Gerald Kraak Award judges were Sisonke Msimang, author of Always Another Country and winner of the inaugural Brittle Paper Award for Essays; Professor Sylvia Tamale, a leading feminist who teaches law at Makerere University in Uganda; and South African author and journalist Mark Gevisser. Here is how they described Dauod’s winning work:

An angry, mournful and confrontingly triumphant essay about the life and death of the author’s friend, a man called C-Boy, in a city in northern Nigeria and the queer subculture he built around him; an anthem for the queer Afro-Modern.

The Judges also commended the top entries in each genre:

For photography, Tshepiso Mabula’s “Human Settlements”:

a series of quiet, unsettling images of a forced eviction in downtown Johannesburg, particularly compelling in the way they explore the play of gender.

For poetry, Sarah Lubala’s “6 Errant Thoughts on Being a Refugee,” which was published by us, “Portrait of a Girl at a Border Wall,” and “Notes on Black Death and Elegy”:

Taught, lyrical, devastating meditations on forced migration and gender-based violence.

For fiction, Kiprop Kimutai’s “The Man at the Bridge,” now available in The Johannesburg Review of Books:

an exquisitely rendered short story about a man trying to juggle his homosexual desire with his married life; one that eschews easy judgement but rather dissects the compromises that its protagonist is forced to make.

The 22 shortlisted pieces are collected in an anthology titled As You like It and published by Jacana Media. Here is their description of the collection:

As You Like It is a collection of the shortlisted entries from over 400 submissions received from thirteen African countries. It showcases some of the most provocative works of fiction, poetry, journalism, photography and academic writing. This anthology series has become an act of protest, affirmation and love. It represents a new wave of fresh storytelling that stimulates thought and expression on the subject of gender, social justice, sexuality and self-expression.

The 2019 Gerald Kraak Award is open for submissions: HERE.

Congratulations to Pwaangulongii Dauod, and to Kiprop Kimutai, Tshepiso Mabula, and Sarah Lubala.

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About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young is a writer, academic, literary journalist, and Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review, Transition, and in an anthology of the Gerald Kraak Award 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. 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 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, the boy just Googles Rihanna. Find him at otosirieze.com.

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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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