Nigerian-British writer Chidi Ebere made it to the 2024 RSL Christopher Bland Prize shortlist. Congrats!

The RSL Christopher Bland Prize is an annual award of £10,000 celebrating outstanding achievements for a debut novelist or non-fiction writer first published aged 50 or over. The Prize was launched in 2018 and first awarded in 2019, thanks to the generosity of the family and friends of Lady Jennie Bland, in memory of Sir Christopher Bland who died in 2017.

This year’s judges are Josh Cohen, Niall Griffiths and Shaparak Khorsandi, who identified the retelling stories of forgotten voices as a unifying thread in their shortlist selection. Ebere was selected for his debut novel Now I Am Here (2023).

The judge Josh Cohen remarked that Ebere’s novel is “Paced superbly. Doesn’t use gore, but rather is suggestive. Beautifully controlled, and bold. Ebere is a skilful storyteller”.

Ebere is thrilled that he was selected for the shortlist:

Right now, it’s impossible to say what it means to have my novel shortlisted – I’m still digesting the news. But I can tell you it’s a wonderful feeling. An intense glow of quiet satisfaction; very present, very grateful.

Chidi Ebere was born and raised in Oxford and spent part of his childhood in Nigeria before returning to the UK. His short stories have appeared in UK Cosmopolitan, Ambit and West 8. He has also written on architecture and urbanism for Archis, Harvard Design Magazine, the Journal of Architecture and others. He now lives in Amsterdam. Now I Am Here is his first novel.

The other books chosen for the shortlist are The Silence Project by Carole Hailey, The Box with the Sunflower Clasp by Rachel Meller, High Caucasus by Tom Parfitt, Ashes & Stones: A Scottish Journey in Search of Witches and Witness by Allyson Shaw.

The winner of the 2024 award will be announced online on July 10. Congrats to Ebere!