The Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) in San Fransisco is launching the African Literary Award “in recognition of an author who has produced a work of literary excellence and taken a leadership role in promoting writing and literacy in their local community.”

The award ceremony, which will be held virtually, will take place on September 8, to commemorate International Literacy Day. Authors considered for the award are those whose work has been read by the museum’s African Book Club.

The African Book Club, which was founded in 2015 by the award-winning author Faith Adiele, as well as musician and educator Holly Shogbesan, is a free monthly series that makes space for readers and lovers of African literature to engage in discussions and reviews. Notable African writers such as Yaa Gyasi, NoViolet Bulawayo, Nnedi Okorafor, Peace Adzo Medie, Mũkoma Wa Ngũgĩ, Sisonke Msimang, and many others have been featured on the book club.The series centers women and LGBTQ voices, in addition to exploring literary trends such as Afro-Futurism, Young Adult, and Mystery. The book club also seeks to represent authors and books from diverse national backgrounds and linguistic traditions by featuring translations of Arabic, French, Portuguese, etc.

Adiele remarks, in a press statement, that the award honors the ways in which the act of reading and writing can meaningfully enrich the community:

African storytelling is rooted in community, and this award gives us the opportunity to recognize accomplished African writers who are also creating opportunity for others through writing and literacy initiatives in their local communities, be it on the continent or in displacement,” said Faith Adiele, host and co-founder of African Book Club.

Due to the pandemic, the book club has adopted a virtual platform, inviting authors themselves to join in the conversations with guests. Previous guests have included Yaa Gyasi, NoViolet Bulawayo, Nnedi Okorafor, Rémy Ngamije, Wayétu Moore, Masande Ntshanga, Nadia Owusu, Sisonke Msimang, Nana Nkweti, Sulaiman Addonia, Peace Adzo Medie, Mũkoma Wa Ngũgĩ and Said Shaiye.

A shortlist of five works will be announced in August with the winner unveiled on September 8.

Stay tuned for more details.