Photo from Rose Okeke’s Instagram account, @thersyndrome.

The Nigerian writer & filmmaker Rose Okeke wins the 2022 James Currey Prize for African Literature for her manuscript Child of the Corn.

The  award, in its second year, is conferred on the best-unpublished fiction manuscript written in English by any writer, set in Africa or on Africans in Africa or in the Diaspora. It was established in 2020 by Nigerian writer, filmmaker and publisher Onyeka Nwelue, in honor of James Currey, a publisher of academic books on Africa. The inaugural prize, in 2021, went to Nigeria’s Ani Kayode Somtochukwu for And Then They Sang a Lullaby.

The 2022 judging panel, chaired by  the Nigerian author Ever Obi, included the Indian author and scholar, Suraj Yengde, Teri Sillo (United Kingdom), Thomas Dukelabik Amanquandor (Ghana), Peace Anyiam-Osigwe (Nigeria), Olukorede S Yishau (Nigeria), and Charmaine R Mujeri (Zimbabwe). They described the winning entry as “a beautiful re-imagination of history.”

Okeke was announced winner at a prize ceremony hosted by OneWorld Publications publisher, Juliet Mabey, marking the end of the three-day James Currey Literary Festival, on September 3.

Also on the 2022 shortlist were Buntu Siwisa (South Africa) for Paperless, Esomnofu Ebelenna Tobenna (Nigeria) for Madness, Abenea Ndago (Kenya) for Lord Kitchener, and Mohammed Hammie (Tanzania) for Mandiga’s Well.

In addition to publication of her winning manuscript, Rose Okeke will receive a cash award of £1,000.

The James Currey Literature Festival is supported by British Council, British Airways, Daniel Ford International, Bodleian Libraries, African Studies Centre, University of Oxford, Pitanga, Heat African, OneWorld Publications, Abibiman Publishing, Hattus Books, FTWeekend Oxford Literary Festival, La Cave Musik, Punch, World Arts Agency, Y!Naija, Open Country Magazine,  Sally Dunsmore, BellaNaija, NaijaTimes, ThisIsLagos and James Murua.

Congratulations to Rose Okeke!