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L-R: Oyinkan Braithwaite, Diana Evans, Akwaeke Emezi.

Oyinkan Braithwaite’s crime thriller My Sister, the Serial Killer, Diana Evans’ exploration of midlife crisis Ordinary People, and Akwaeke Emezi’s autobiographical Freshwater have been longlisted for the 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction. All three are Nigerian, with Evans half-British. This brings the number of African nominees for the 27-year-old prize—formerly known as the Orange Prize for Fiction and later the Baileys Prize for Fiction—to a total of 15 authors and 19 books. It is a return of sorts for Diana Evans, whose debut 26a won the now defunct Orange Prize for New Writers in 2005. My Sister, the Serial Killer and Freshwater were named in Brittle Paper‘s Notable Books of 2018 list.

The 13 others also vying for the £30,000 prize are former winner Madeline Miller for Circe, Booker Prize winning author Pat Barker for The Silence of the Girls, Anna Burns for the 2018 Booker Prize winning Milkman, Sally Rooney for the Costa Award winning Normal People, Sarah Moss for Ghost Wall, Tayari Jones for An American Marriage, Bernice L McFadden for Praise Songs for the Butterflies, Melissa Broder for The Pisces, Lillian Li for Number One Chinese Restaurant, Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott for Swan Song, Yvonne Battle-Felton for Remembered, Sophie van Llewyn for Bottled Goods, and Valeria Luiselli for Lost Children Archive.

The judges are the academic Kate Williams, who is the chair, the journalist and critic Arifa Akbar, the columnist Dolly Alderton, the women’s rights campaigner Leyla Hussein, and the tech entrepreneur Sarah Wood. The choices, they said, came about from “passionate debate” with the books offering “deep engagements with female and sexual identity, and real engagement with tyranny, both sexual and political. And of course, amazing storytelling and gripping plots.”

The shortlist will be announced on 29 April, and the winner on 5 June.

Brittle Paper published excerpts from Oyinkan Braithwaite’s My Sister, the Serial Killer, courtesy of her Nigerian publisher, Narrative Landscape Press. Read them HERE.

Congratulations to the authors.

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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. He sits on the judging panels of The Miles Morland Writing Scholarships and of The Gerald Kraak Prize. 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. He is currently nominated for the inaugural The Future Awards Prize for Literature. 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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