The Egyptian writer Noor Naga’s If an Egyptian Cannot Speak English and the Nigerian writer Eloghosa Osunde’s Vagabonds! are on the 2022 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize longlist.

The prize, first awarded in 2006, honors the best debut fiction of the year with US publication dates between January 1 and December 31 of the year under review. The winner receives a $15,000 prize while each of the other shortlisted authors receive $1,000.

The year’s longlist of twenty-four writers was selected from over 140 submitted titles. The titles were nominated by 96 volunteer readers chosen from The Center’s diverse community of writers, booksellers, librarians, members, and staff. A judging panel will sit in the coming weeks to deliberate on a shortlist, with an eventual winner announced soon after.

Eloghosa Osunde’s Vagabonds! follows a band of outcasts in modern day Lagos on a quest to lead true lives. It was published in the US by Riverhead Books. Most recently, it was shortlisted for the inaugural Waterstones Debut Fiction Prize.

Noor Naga’s If an Egyptian Cannot Speak English was published in the US by Graywolf Press after winning the 2019 Graywolf Press African Prize for Fiction. It centers on the romantic encounters between an Egyptian American woman visiting Egypt for the first time and a brooding artist from the village of Shobrakheit, and how their love escalates into volatility. Read our review here.

Previously longlisted African authors include the Caine Prize winners Tope Folarin and Namwali Serpell who were both on the 2019 Longlist for A Particular Kind of Black Man and The Old Drift respectively.

Congratulations to Noor Naga and Eloghosa Osunde!