Back in March, three Nigerian writers — 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 Braithwaite and Diana Evans, making them the fifth and sixth Africans to be finalists for the 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction.
The Women’s Prize for Fiction, previously known as the Orange Prize for Fiction and the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, is one of the most prestigious literary awards in the world.
It is the UK’s most prestigious annual book award celebrating & honoring women’s fiction. Founded in 1996, the Prize was set up to celebrate originality, accessibility & excellence in writing by women and to connect world-class writers with readers everywhere.
This is the first time that two African authors will be shortlisted the same year.
Braithwaite is nominated for her darkly comic sibling story “My Sister, the Serial Killer.”
This crime thriller, set in Lagos state, has a Nigerian woman whose younger sister has a very inconvenient habit of killing her boyfriends.
The New York Times describes it as a “Pulpy, peppery and sinister, served up in a comic deadpan…” The review adds, “This scorpion-tailed little thriller leaves a response, and a sting, you will remember.”
Evans, a British author of Nigerian and English descent, is chosen for her third novel - ”Ordinary People.”
“Set in London to an exhilarating soundtrack, Ordinary People is an intimate study of identity and parenthood, sex and grief, friendship and ageing, and the fragile architecture of love,” Penguin Bookswrites.
Other shortlisted authors include Pat Barker for ‘The Silence of the Girls’, Anna Burns for ‘Milkman’, Tayari Jones for ‘An American Marriage’ and Madeline Miller for ‘Circe’.
Africans that have been featured on the shortlist include Nigerian authors – Ayobami Adebayo in 2017 and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in 2004, 2007 and 2014. The latter won in 2007 for “Half of a Yellow Sun.”
Sierra Leonean-Scottish novelist, Aminatta Forna and Ghanaian-Canadian writer, Esi Edugyan, have also made the list.
Winning the Women’s Prize for Fiction is considered a big deal, one that offers a significant career boost as well as a £30,000 ($40,000) prize.
The winner will be announced on June 5, 2019.