As You Like It, the anthology comprising shortlisted entries for the second Gerald Kraak Prize, has won the 2019 Lambda Award for Best Fiction Anthology. The announcement was made last night at the 31st Lambda Literary Awards—AKA the Lammys: the LGBTQ+ Grammys—ceremony at the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, New York City. Published by Jacana Media and launched at last year’s Gerald Kraak Prize ceremony in Johannesburg in May 2018, As You Like It contains 22 pieces of fiction, nonfiction, photography, journalism, and poetry by 15 artists. This is the second win in this category by a book curated by an African institution, following the 2014 win by Queer Africa: New and Collected Fiction, edited by Makhosazana Xaba and Karen Martin.
Founded in 2016 by The Other Foundation and Jacana Literary Foundation, in honour of the late activist Gerald Kraak, the R25,000 prize aims to honour writing and photography by Africans which “provoke thought on the topics of gender, social justice and sexuality.” The inaugural prize went to Ugandan-born Kenyan photographer Sarah Waiswa and Kenyan writer Farah Ahamed in 2017, with the inaugural anthology, Pride and Prejudice: African Perspectives on Gender, Social Justice and Sexuality, launched at the prize ceremony. The second prize in 2018 went to the Nigerian nonfiction writer Pwaangulongii Dauod, for his “Africa’s Future Has No Space for Stupid Black Men.” The third prize went to the Nigerian nonfiction writer OluTimehin Adegbeye last month, with the prize anthology The Heart of the Matter also launched.
Here is a description of As You Like It:
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 judges who selected the shortlisted entries in As You Like It were the South African writer and activist Sisonke Msimang, the Ugandan law professor and feminist Sylvia Tamale, and the South African journalist and activist Mark Gevisser.
In addition to Dauod being named winner, the judges commended the top entries in each genre: for photography, Tshepiso Mabula’s “Human Settlements”; 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”; and for fiction, Kiprop Kimutai’s “The Man at the Bridge.” Here is the full list of the shortlisted pieces in As You Like It:
- ‘Facing the Mediterranean’ by Isaac Otidi Amuke (journalism, Kenya)
- ‘Full Moon’ by Jayne Bauling (fiction, South Africa)
- ‘Sailing with the Argonauts’ by Efemia Chela (non-fiction, South Africa)
- ‘Princess’ by Carl Collison (photography, South Africa)
- ‘Africa’s Future Has no Space for Stupid Black Men’ by Pwaangulongii Dauod (non-fiction, Nigeria)
- ‘Existence as Resistance’ by Wandile Dlamini (photography, South Africa)
- ‘The Shea Prince’ by Chike Frankie Edozien (non-fiction, Nigeria)
- ‘The Man at the Bridge’ by Kiprop Kimutai (fiction, Kenya)
- ‘Portrait of a Girl at the Border Wall’, ‘6 Errant Thoughts on Being a Refugee’ and ‘Notes on Black Death and Elegy’ by Sarah Lubala (poetry, South Africa)
- ‘Human Settlements’ by Tshepiso Mabula (photography, South Africa)
- ‘Borrowed by the Wind’ by David Medalie (fiction, South Africa)
- ‘Drowning’, ‘In Jail’ and ‘Things That Will Get You Beaten in a Black Home’ by Thandokuhle Mngqibisa (photography and poetry, South Africa)
- ‘XXYX Africa: More Invisible’ by Nick Hadikwa Mwaluko (fiction, Tanzania)
- ‘We Are Queer, We Are Here’ by Chibuihe Obi (non-fiction, Nigeria)
- ‘Reclamation’ by Hapuya Ononime (poetry, Nigeria)
In addition to the Best Fiction Anthology-winning Queer Africa: New and Collected Fiction, edited by Makhosazana Xaba and Karen Martin, other books by Africans to have won Lambda Awards include Chinelo Okparanta’s short story collection Happiness, Like Water and novel Under the Udala Trees, both of which won Best Lesbian Fiction in 2014 and 2016 respectively, and Chike Frankie Edozien’s Lives of Great Men which won Best Gay Memoir in 2018.
Organised by Lambda Literary, the US’ oldest and largest literary arts organization advancing LGBTQ literature, the LAMBDA Literary Awards, currently in its 31st year, “celebrate achievement in LGBTQ writing” across 23 categories.
31ST ANNUAL LAMBDA LITERARY AWARD WINNERS:
The Tiger Flu, Larissa Lai, Arsenal Pulp Press
Jonny Appleseed, Joshua Whitehead, Arsenal Pulp Press
Disoriental, Négar Djavadi, Translated by Tina Kover, Europa Editions
Out of Step: A Memoir, Anthony Moll, Mad Creek Books / The Ohio State University Press
Little Fish, Casey Plett, Arsenal Pulp Press
Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry, Imani Perry, Beacon Press
Histories of the Transgender Child, Julian Gill-Peterson, University of Minnesota Press
Each Tree Could Hold a Noose or a House, Ru Puro, New Issues Poetry & Prose
Indecency, Justin Phillip Reed, Coffee House Press
We Play a Game, Duy Doan, Yale University Press
lo terciario / the tertiary, Raquel Salas Rivera, Timeless, Infinite Light
A Study in Honor: A Novel, Claire O’Dell, HarperCollins / HarperVoyager
Late Fees: A Pinx Video Mystery, Marshall Thornton, Kenmore Books
Chronology, Zahra Patterson, Ugly Duckling Presse
No Ashes in the Fire: Coming of Age Black and Free in America, Darnell L.
Moore, Bold Type Books
Beowulf For Cretins: A Love Story, Ann McMan, Bywater Books
Crashing Upwards, S.C. Wynne, self-published
Miles & Honesty in SCFSX!, Blue Delliquanti & Kazimir Lee, self-published
As You Like It: The Gerald Kraak Anthology Volume II, The Other Foundation, Jacana Media
Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture, Roxane Gay, HarperCollins / Harper Perennial
LGBTQ Children’s/Young Adult
Hurricane Child, Kacen Callender, Scholastic / Scholastic Press
Draw the Circle, Mashuq Mushtaq Deen, Dramatists Play Service
LGBTQ Graphic Novels
The Lie and How We Told It, Tommi Parrish, Fantagraphics Books
The Breath of the Sun, Isaac R. Fellman, Aqueduct
Toxic Silence: Race, Black Gender Identity, and Addressing the Violence Against Black Transgender Women in Houston, William T. Hoston, Peter Lang International Academic Publishers
At the ceremony, special honors were further given: Alexander Chee received Lambda’s Trustee Award, “for his immeasurable contributions to culture as a novelist, essayist, activist, and teacher”; Masha Gessen received the Visionary Award “for their work advancing public awareness around the global threat of totalitarianism”; and Barbara Smith received the Publishing Professional Award “for a lifetime of work that has profoundly shaped our collective understanding of the interconnections between race, class, and gender.”
Brittle Paper congratulations to everybody who made the Gerald Kraak Prize’s As You Like It happen: the contributors, the judges, Jacana Media, The Other Foundation, and Jacana Literary Foundation.