Brittle Paper deputy editor Otosirieze Obi-Young has been nominated alongside four other young Nigerian writers for Africa’s biggest youth awards, The Future Awards Africa 2019, in the category of Literature. The other nominees are the writer and video artist Akwaeke Emezi, the novelist and writer Oyinkan Braithwaite, the poet, playwright, and performer Lanaire Aderemi, and the poet Ijeoma Umebinyuo.
The Future Awards, established in 2006, are a set of awards given by The Future Project, a social enterprise committed to human and capital development especially in Africa. Described by Forbes as the “most important awards for outstanding young Africans,” The Future Awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of young people between the ages of 18 and 31 in the year under consideration.
The Future Awards categories, totaling 21, range from advocacy to technology. Notably, 2019 is the first year in which there will be an award for the category of Literature. According to The Future Awards site, The Future Awards Africa Prize for Literature “recognizes the personal and professional achievements of young writers within the year in view.” Authors who have previously won The Future Awards include Ayodami Adebayo for the category of Arts and Culture in 2017 and Chimamada Ngozi Adichie for the category of Young Person of the Year in 2008.
Nominees for The Future Awards Africa 2019 (#TFAA2019) were unveiled in a program co-hosted by actor Francis Sule and CEO of Anita Brows Beauty Anita Adetory that was aired across various television channels and radio stations on November 3, 2019. Winners will be announced on November 24, 2019.
Otosirieze Obi-Young is most likely nominated for his uncountable contributions toward shaping Brittle Paper’s position as a leading voice on African literary culture as well as his role on the judging committee for the Morland Writing Scholarships and the Gerald Kraak Prize. Named one of the “top curators and editors from Africa” by The Witsprouts Project, Obi-Young is also the editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective, and the founder of the Art Naija Series anthologies. Most recently, he was profiled on Literary Hub for his advocacy work on LGBTQ+ identities in literature. His short stories and literary commentary have appeared in The Threepenny Review, Transition, and Dazed Digital.
Lanaire Aderemi is currently reading sociology at Warwick University. Her work centers on Nigerian feminist history as well as the politics of memory and resistance. Her efforts against institutional racism and sexism in universities has been featured on the BBC, Coventry Telegraph, and various student-led radios. She has also performed her poetry at music festivals in Lagos, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and universities including Kings College London and Warwick University.
Oyinkan Braithwaite is a graduate of Creative Writing and Law from Kingston University. She has worked as an assistant editor at Kachifo. She was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize in 2016. Her debut novel, My Sister, the Serial Killer (2018), was longlisted for the 2019 Booker Prize, shortlisted for the 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction, and won the 2019 LA Times Award for Best Crime Thriller as well as the 2019 Morning News Tournament of Books.
Akwaeke Emezi is a 2018 National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” honoree. Their debut young adult novel PET (2019) is a finalist for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. Their debut autobiographical novel, Freshwater (2017), was a New York Times Notable Book as well as a finalist for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize, the PEN/Hemingway Award, the NYPL Young LIons Fiction Award, the Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction, and a Lambda Literary Award.
Ijeoma Umebinyuo has been described as one of the top contemporary poets of African descent by Writivism. Her work explores womanism, feminism, immigration, the dismantling of traditions of silence, mental health, intergenerational trauma, and colonization. Her short stories and poems have appeared in The Stockholm Review of Literature, The Rising Phoenix Review, and The Gordon Square Review, among others. She was a keynote speaker at the first Afrocentrism Conference at Simon Fraser University.
For a full list of the 2019 nominees in other categories, click here.
Congratulations to all five nominees, but especially to our deputy editor, Otosirieze Obi-Young! We could not have wished for a better testament to your contributions to Brittle Paper, and your emergence as an important voice in the African and global literary scene.