Nigeria’s Eloghosa Osunde has received the 2021 Plimpton Prize for Fiction, conferred by The Paris Review, for her short story “Good Boy” published in the Fall 2020 issue.

The $10,000 award, named after one of the magazine’s founding editors George Plimpton, “celebrates an outstanding story published by an emerging writer in the magazine in the previous calendar year.”

The editorial committee presiding over the award praised “Good Boy” for its masterful brilliance and complex handling of joy and sorrow. Eloghosa, who runs a monthly column for The Paris Review, noted that the award was a dream come true as she had always wanted to win it since she first heard of it.

The Paris Review will be hosting a conversation between Osunde and Akwaeke Emezi, introduced by The Paris Review’s managing editor, Hasan Altaf, on their YouTube Channel on April 27 at 6 P.M.

Click here to register for reminders about the event.

Go here to find out more about the Plimpton Prize.

Congratulations to Eloghosa Osunde!

Excerpt of “Good Boy”

I’ve always had a problem with introductions. To me, they don’t matter. It’s either you know me or you don’t—you get? If you don’t, the main thing you need to know is that I am a hustler through and through. I’m that guy that gets shit done. Simple. Kick me out of the house at fifteen—a barged-in-on secret behind me, a heartbreak falling into my shin as I walk—and watch me grow some real useful muscles. Watch me learn how to play all the necessary games, good and ungood; watch me learn how to notice red eyes, how to figure out when to squat and bite the road’s shoulder with all my might. Watch me learn why a good knife (and not just any type of good, but the moral-less kind, the fatherlike kind) is necessary when you’re sleeping under a bridge. Just a week after that, watch me swear on my own destiny and insist to the God who made me that I’m bigger than that lesson now; then watch my ori align. Watch me walk from that cursed bridge a free man and learn how to really make money between age damaged and age twenty-two; watch me pay the streets what I owe in blood and notes (up front, no installments); watch me never lack where to sleep again. Second thing to know about me: I know how to make the crucial handshakes. Third thing: I no dey make the same mistake twice. Almost evict me from my place in Surulere at age x and watch rage stab me forward. Watch how in three weeks, I treat my own fuckup with not just a room but an apartment four times as big in Gbagada. The how is irrelevant. Fourth thing: I am serious about being alive. Because of this, there is nothing I can’t survive. Anybody who knows me knows that; the rest na breeze. It is my God-given right to be here. This life? Me, I must chop am, and it must be on my own terms. What makes all this worth it, otherwise? Nothing. Someone I know joked just two days ago sef, that even if I end up in hell at the end of the day, I won’t stop kicking, I won’t stop reaching for something, I will insist on my space. In reality, I’m not the kind of guy who ends up in a place like that because fifth thing: I’m not the kind of guy who believes in hell, or in a god who imagines a lake of fire. I just can’t see it—you have a mind that’s wider than the sky and that is what you use it to picture? To me, that sounds too petty, too human, too undivine to be real. People sell all kinds of gods all the time. I know the One that moves me and it’s not the one I was raised on. To me, you can’t say you’re love, choose to roast people for eternity, and then pretend it breaks your heart. Pick a side. Anyhow, the guy said the hell thing to make a point and it’s true—luck finds my head, business competes with my blood on who keeps me best, and either might fail depending on the day. So now, I always wonder: What do people want to use my name for? It will not buy you anything. Name-drop me and they’ll still redirect you to me. In that sense, it’s irrelevant to know. I answer a first name only and it’s for the people I know. But my story? Ah damn. Now, that? That, many people can do a whole lot with. Read more.

 

 

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