Back in March, three Nigerian authors — Oyinkan Braithwaite, Akwaeke Emezi and Diana Evans — made the longlist for the 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction.
The longlist has finally been narrowed down, and the final shortlist includes Oyinkan Braithwaitefor My Sister, the Serial Killer and Diana Evansfor Ordinary People, making them the fifth and sixth Africans to be finalists for the prestigious prize.
Diana Evans and Oyinkan Braithwaite (Photo: The New York Times)
The previous Africans on the shortlist include Nigeria’s Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in 2004, 2007 and 2014; the Sierra Leonean-Scottish novelist, Aminatta Forna in 2011; the Ghanaian-Canadian writer, Esi Edugyan in 2012; and Nigeria’s Ayobami Adebayo in 2017.
With Evans and Braithwaite making the shortlist, this is the first time ever that more than one African has been named a finalist for the prize. Winning the Women’s Prize for Fiction is an incredible honour — one that comes with high regard and a £30,000 cash reward.
The winners will be announced on June 5.
Ordinary People and My Sister, The Serial Killer (Photo: Brittle Paper)
The longlist for the 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction has been released and three acclaimed Nigerian authors — Oyinkan Braithwaite, Akwaeke Emezi and Diana Evans — made the cut.
The prestigious prize, formerly the Orange Prize for Fiction, has honoured many great authors since it was launched in 1996, including Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who won in 2007 for Half of a Yellow Sun. It is a significant career boost and it comes with a £30,000 ($40,000) prize.
Akwaeke Emezi, Diana Evans and Oyinkan Braithwaite
Oyinkan Braithwaite for My Sister, The Serial Killer
Hilarious and deliciously twisted, My Sister, The Serial Killer tells the story of the complex relationship between a murderous yet glamorous Lagosian fashion designer and her responsible older sister, who’s always ready with bleach and rubber gloves to help cover up a crime.
Akwaeke Emezi for Freshwater
Emezi’s Freshwater explores the multiple voices of an Igbo god living within a young woman. They also used Igbo cosmology to reveal their experience as a trans African. Their inclusion in the list means it is the first time a non-binary trans author has been included in the Women’s Prize for Fiction.
(Photo: She Reads With Cats)
Diana Evans for Ordinary People
Evans’ Ordinary People cleverly exposes the melancholy of suburban middle-class black people using celebrity events. The book opens at a party thrown in honor of Barack Obama’s presidential victory, in 2008, and closes in the aftermath of Michael Jackson’s overdose and death.