Maaza Mengiste has won the 2021 Edgar Awards for Best Short Story for “Dush, Ash, Flight,” published in the collection Addis Ababa Noir, which Mengiste also edited.

Named after American writer Edgar Allan Poe, the Edgar awards are annually awarded by the Mystery Writers of America and “honors the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction, television, film, and theatre published or produced in the previous year.” Other African authors nominated across various categories for the 2021 prize include Nnedi Okorafor and Kwei Quartey.

Read a description of Mengiste’s story below;

“In Dust, Ash, Flight,  Alfonso is an Argentine photographer who takes images of the human remains of Ethiopian prisoners. He encounters an Ethiopian man, Gideon, who is looking for his disappeared son. The story is based on a real-life team of forensic scientists who went to Ethiopia to excavate mass graves. The story looks at what we mean by evidence and how memory can speak a different kind of truth.”

Mengiste has received fellowships from the Fulbright Scholar Program, the National Endowment for the Arts, Creative Capital, and the Cullman Centre.  She is the author of two acclaimed novels Beneath the Lion’s Gaze which was selected by the Guardian as one of the ten best contemporary African books and named one of the best books of 2010 by Christian Science Monitor and Boston Globe, among others and The Shadow King which was shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, Granta, The Guardian, The New York Times, Rolling Stone, and BBC. She is a recipient of the 2020 Arts and Letters Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Congratulations to Maaza Mengiste!