Brittle Paper‘s deputy editor Otosirieze Obi-Young was recently profiled on Literary Hub. The October 3 feature is titled “On a Progressive Platform for New African Literature” and is one of those long-overdue recognitions that are heartwarming. It was a timely for our #QueerYourAfricanRead project and was published just after our panel at the 2019 Lambda Literary Festival.
In it, Otosirieze highlights the work of queer African writers and allies challenging stereotypical narratives of queerness. When asked to list his top ten, he acknowledges the limitation of the question:
As an editor, the list of queer writers he admires is so long he protested when asked to pick his top five, then ten. “Only ten? But there are so many deserving!” He mentioned Dibia along with Arinze Ifeakandu, Romeo Oriogun, and Pwaangulongii Dauod, as well as Jude Dibia and journalist Chike Frankie Edozien, whose Lives of Great Men: Living and Loving as an African Gay Man won the 2018 Lammy for best gay memoir. Other notables are Mark Gevisser, Olumide Popoola, Chibuihe Achimba, Trifonia Melibia Obono. He also named Unoma Azuah. . . who edited 2016’s Blessed Body: The Secret Lives of LGBT Nigerian Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender.
Otosirieze said he’s excited to push forward lesser-known talents, because there are few African-led mainstream outlets for queer writers. “Most literary initiatives start with and run on nothing but their founder’s money, like Brittle Paper,” Otosirieze said. “There’s so much that we could do, that we want to do, but for funds. Queer writers and projects in Africa need opportunities, but their founders, so full of ideas and daring, continue to push forward without those. I imagine what could be if we had those.
Otosirieze, 25, currently sits on the judging panels of the Miles Morland Foundation Scholarships, the most prestigious grant in the continent, and the Gerald Kraak Prize, Africa’s first art and literary award for gender, sexuality, and human rights. He completed a short story collection in 2016 and is working on a novel. Most recently, we published his report, “Inside Nigerian Literature’s Sponsorship Problem and the Worsening Struggle between Prizes and Defaulfting Funders.”
Read the full profile HERE.