Author of Vagabonds!, Eloghosa Osunde emerged as the winner of The Museum of the African Diaspora’s second annual African Literary Award on November 20.
Founded in 2005, the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) is a contemporary art museum whose mission is to celebrate Black cultures, ignite challenging conversations, and inspire learning through the global lens of the African Diaspora. Its African Literary Award recognizes an African author who has produced a work of literary excellence that expands global understanding of African lives and storytelling.
In winning the prize, Osunde managed to race ahead of other prominent shortlisted authors such as Ethiopian-American author Meron Hadero, Nigerian author Arinze Ifeakandu, and Egyptian writer Noor Naga.
Haji Jabir’s Black Foam (2023) and Okwiri Oduor’s Things They Lost (2022) also received honorable mentions.
Osunde’s brave and inventive novel Vagabonds! (2022) traces a wild array of characters – “vagabonds” whose existence is literally outlawed: the queer, the poor, the displaced, the footloose and rogue spirits who inhabit transient spaces and alternative realities and for whom life itself is a form of resistance.
Osunde remarked that she was thrilled to win the award:
I’ve known about and respected the work being done at MoAD for some time now, so this feels like a particularly precious moment. Thank you to the judges for selecting Vagabonds! as their 2023 winner, and congratulations to the three other authors shortlisted for their great timely work. It means a lot to me that this is more than a prize about stories; it’s also about the impact they can make, the marks they leave in their wake. Vagabonds! is a book dear to me for many reasons that would still be true even if I wasn’t its author.
Eloghosa Osunde is a Nigerian writer, multidisciplinary maker and world bender. They are an alumna of the Lambda Literary Workshop (2019), New York Film Academy (2017) and the Caine Prize Workshop (2018). They are a 2020 MacDowell Colony Fellow and the 2021 prose judge of Fugue Journal’s annual writing contest. Osunde is the author of Vagabonds!, published in 2022 by Riverhead Books (US), Fourth Estate(UK) and Farafina Books (NG).
Osunde will be honored at the virtual Award Ceremony on Sunday, December 3, at 12 PM PST. The program will include a live reading and conversation to be moderated by African Book Club co-founder Faith Adiele. Register here.
Congrats to Osunde on winning this award!