Nigerian writer Pemi Aguda has been announced winner of the 2020 Deborah Rogers Foundation Award.
Aguda, who was a finalist for the Brittle Paper Award for Fiction in 2019, won the award for her novel The Suicide Mothers, which is reportedly set in Lagos and is described as “utterly contemporary yet has room for the mythic and the supernatural.”
Aguda will receive the cash prize of £10,000.
The 2020 longlist was selected by agents within the agency from 876 entries. Aguda’s The Suicide Mothers emerged winner out of the 3 stories that made it to the shortlist.
Speech! We are delighted to introduce you to the first place prize-winner of the 2020 Deborah Rogers Foundation Writers Award, ‘Pemi Aguda (@PemiAguda), author of ‘The Suicide Mothers.’ #DRFWritersAward pic.twitter.com/NTI0TKGdql
— RCW Literary Agency (@RCWLitAgency) May 12, 2020
Ian Rankin OBE chaired the judging panel, which included Sarah Perry and Max Porter.
Speaking of the initial longlist of 8 stories, Rankin said that “all eight had their strengths” and displayed “unique and powerful authorial voices from many corners of the globe.” But only Aguda’s manuscript made it to the very top.
“Our winner, THE SUICIDE MOTHERS,” writes Perry, “is a tremendously gripping novel which I’m sure will reach a wide audience.”
Aguda is currently holding a fellowship at the University of Michigan where she received her MFA. Her work has appeared in Granta, American Short Fiction and Zoetrope: All-Story, among others.
The Deborah Rogers Foundation Writers Award is presented by American literary agency Rogers Coleridge & White.
Congratulations to Pemi Aguda!