Nigerian writer Olayinka Yaqub has won the 2023 Awele Creative Trust (ACT) Award with the short story, “The Weight of Duty.”

Awele Creative Trust (ACT) is a non-profit trust formed in 2013 to provide a platform and enabling environment for creative young persons in Nigeria through literature and arts. Beginning in 2015, ACT offers an annual award with a monetary sum attached to it, to encourage aspiring writers.

The prize is awarded to a short story by any writer between the ages of 16 and 26, who is a resident in Nigeria. To celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the ACT Award, the winner will take home N100,000.

Yaqub’s winning story “The Weight of Duty” follows a young girl’s struggle to reconcile her personal desires and her duty as a chosen emissary of the gods. The judges called it a story with heart, and praised it for both its use of language and its rich cultural setting:

Wura’s struggle to reconcile her personal desires with her duty is very well told. Yaqub succeeds in delivering a thoughtful, entertaining read.

Olayinka Yaqub’s love for stories and storytelling stems from a childhood spent listening to folktales told in the moonlight. He is the winner of the 2021 Sandra Whiteley Prize for Children’s Literature and was shortlisted for the 2023 Happy Noisemakers Prize for African Storytelling. When he’s not writing stories or thinking up one, he doubles as a chemical engineering undergrad at the University of Lagos. His debut novel, a crime-thriller set in Lagos, is currently in the works for publication.

Congrats to Yaqub!