The much-awaited creative nonfiction anthology Wedged Between Man and God: Queer West African Women’s stories just came out on Amazon on August 21. Edited by Unoma Azuah and Claire Ba, the collection features French and English nonfiction essays selected through a writing competition for queer women from West Africa back in 2021.
Curated by Azuah and Ba, the project was done in partnership with Women’s Initiative for Sustainable Empowerment and Equality (WISE Nigeria). From a pool of 50 submissions, the competition narrowed the initial longlist to 22 authors and the shortlist to 11. The winner was awarded $1000, while the first runner up received $750, and the second received $500.
The 1st place spot was awarded to two winning stories – “Growing Wings” by Olaedo Obinze (Nigeria), where the author creatively compares herself to a young bird to tell her coming out story, and “Suffocating in the Comfort of the Closet” by Tanamia Illunga (Côte d’Ivoire), where the author draws attention to the irony of passing as straight and the existence of queer survival in the juxtaposition of freedom and captivity.
The 2nd place spot also went to two stories – “My Daddy’s Daughter,” by Noni Salma (Nigeria) and “Shouting Myself Hoarse,” by Delasi Sanenu (Ghana). The 3rd place spot was given to “Hope Flies by a Girl like me,” by Enyo Sela (Ghana) and “Javalin” by Gsan Rolifane (Côte d’Ivoire).
The anthology is a testament to the beauty that lies in untold stories and the importance of giving a platform to queer women in West Africa to share their voices.
The anthology is a blingual edition, written in both English and French. Read the powerful synopsis below:
In most West African countries, queer people live in constant fear, abused by both institutions and society at large that blatantly refuse to acknowledge their right to live and love freely. Women endure particular forms of homophobia that are damaging because of sexism. This book builds awareness about what queer women face in West Africa who are daily persecuted for their sexuality. It also bears witness to their collective pain and celebrates their defiant spirit.
This collection of personal stories reveals the experiences of queer West African women from Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Benin Republic, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia and Senegal. Wedged Between Man and God brings a refreshing perspective to the nuances of femininity and women’s sexuality in Africa. Above all, it calls for equality, confronts the myth that queer women are unfit for economic and political opportunities and demands an egalitarian world.
This is a must-read for all those who are fans of queer stories from Africa! Buy Wedged Between Man and God: Queer West African Women’s Stories here.