The Rathbones Folio Prize has announced the longlist for its 2021 edition, and four African or authors of African heritage are on it.
The authors are British-Ghanaian writer Nii Ayikwei Parkes for his poetry collection The Geez, British writer of Nigerian heritage Caleb Femi for the poetry collection Poor, UK-based Nigerian poet Inua Ellams for The Actual, and South African writer and queer rights advocate Mark Gevisser for The Pink Line: The World’s Queer Frontiers.
The Rathbones Folio Prize was set up in 2014 by London-based publishers The Folio Society. The prize seeks to reward ”the best new work of literature published in the English language during a given year, regardless of form (fiction, non-fiction and poetry).” At £30,000, it is one of the richest literary prizes in the UK.
Here’s a brief summary of each of the longlisted works provided by the prize’s site:
The Geez – Nii Ayikwei Parkes (Peepal Tree Press)
Simultaneously conceptual and deeply personal, The Geez is an intimate exploration of human perception and the way the body responds to, and expresses emotion.
Poor – Caleb Femi (Penguin)
Lyrical, heart-breaking and hopeful, the Peckham poet’s debut collection celebrating the lives of young black boys and the architecture that shapes them.
The Actual – Inua Ellams (Penned In The Margins)
The Actual is a symphony of personal and political fury, described by Bernardine Evaristo ‘as fire, as lament, as beauty’.
The Pink Line: The World’s Queer Frontiers – Mark Gevisser (Profile Books)
Eye-opening, moving, and crafted with expert research, this is a vital journey of epic scope, across the world’s most challenging new frontiers.
The shortlist will be announced on February 10, and the winner unveiled at a digital ceremony scheduled for March 24.
To find out more about these authors and others on the longlist, head here.
Best wishes to Nii Ayikwei Parkes, Caleb Femi, Inua Ellams and Mark Gevisser.