The list of nominees for the 54th NAACP awards has been announced, and there are a few familiar names.
African Risen, co-edited by Nigerian sci-fi author Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki, alongside Sheree Renée Thomas, and Zelda Knight, and You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi are nominated in the fiction category. Somali-American author Boyah J. Farah’s memoir America Made Me a Black Man is nominated in the category of debut book. Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond’s Blue: A History of the Color as Deep as the Sea and as Wide as the Sky is nominated in the children’s book category.
All the writers are delighted by the news, which they shared on social media. Emezi notes, in their Instagram caption, that this is their first nomination and that they were “pretty impressed with how much this debut romance novel has accomplished.” Brew-Hammond also shared the news on Instagram, noting that it was an honor.
The NAACP is an interracial civil rights organization founded in 1909 “to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination.” The image awards, which was first held in 1967, celebrates outstanding black artists and writers in film, television, theatre, music, and literature.
Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Zakes Mda, Nurrudin Farah, Chinelo Okparanta, Petina Gappah, Hafizah Geter, Tochi Oyebuchi are some of the African authors nominated in the past. With the exception of Nelson Mandela who won the Children’s literature prize in 2003 for Nelson Mandela’s Favorite African Folktales, it doesn’t look like any African writer has ever won any of the literature prizes. Maybe this year will be different.
There are 300,000 members in the NAACP, and their votes determine the nominees and the winners in all 40 categories featured. This year’s award ceremony will be aired live on February 25 at 8pm New York City time.
Congrats to all the authors! Go here for the full list of nominees across all categories.