Aspen Words Literary Prize has announced the longlist for its 2021 edition, and four Africans are on it. They are Ghanaian novelist Yaa Gyasi for her second novel Transcendent Kingdom, Ugandan novelist Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi for her second novel A Girl is a Body of Water, and the Nigerian writers Akwaeke Emezi and Tola Rotimi Abraham for their third novel The Death of Vivek Oji and debut novel Black Sunday respectively.
The Aspen Words Literary Prize, with a cash reward of $35,000, is one of the largest prizes in the US and is open to novels and short story collections from writers of any nationality, addressing violence, inequality, gender, the environment, immigration, religion, race or other social issues.
The longlist of fifteen was selected by a judging panel that included British-Nigerian writer Sarah Ladipo Mayinka. The judges will announce a shortlist in February 2021 and reveal the winner mid-April 2021.
Best wishes to Yaa Gyasi, Akwaeke Emezi, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi and Tola Rotimi Abraham!
See the list of finalists below.
Complete List of Finalists
Black Sunday by Tola Rotimi Abraham | Catapult
Against the Loveless World by Susan Abulhawa | Atria Books
Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam | Harper Collins/Ecco
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett | Riverhead Books
The New Wilderness by Diane Cook | Harper Collins
Fiebre Tropical by Juliana Delgado Lopera | Feminist Press
The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi | Riverhead Books
The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich | Harper Collins
The Office of Historical Corrections by Danielle Evans | Riverhead Books
Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi | Alfred A Knopf
If I Had Two Wings”by Randall Kenan | W.W. Norton & Company
A Children’s Bible by Lydia Millet | W.W. Norton & Company
A Girl is a Body of Water by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi | Tin House
Real Life by Brandon Taylor | Riverhead Books
Memorial by Bryan Washington | Riverhead