Lesley Nneka Arimah was announced as a Minnesota Book Awards 2018 winner for her short story collection What It Means When a Man Falls From The Sky at a ceremony in, Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA on April 21, 2018. Her book is published by Riverhead Books/Penguin Random House.
The Minnesota Book Awards are presented annually for books created by writers, illustrators or book artists who are Minnesotans. The award, established in 1988, is organized by The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library. While there have been many worthy winners in the past thirty years, there has never been an African who has featured in its list of greats.
The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library announced those in the running for this year’s awards and one name stood out for us; Lesley Nneka Arimah. She was nominated in the awards for her debut short story collection What It Means When a Man Falls From The Sky. The debut collection explores the ties that bind parents and children, husbands and wives, lovers and friends and the places they call home. The book has been doing very well for the Nigerian writer as it has been shortlisted for the 9mobile Prize for African Writing. She has also won the Kirkus Prize, the Commonwealth Short Story Prize and been shortlisted for the Caine Prize 2017 in the last few years.
When the announcement was made, Arimah in an interview expressed joy at being in the running.
“I feel immensely honored. I took the first concrete step in my writing career when I moved to Minnesota as a student a decade ago, so it’s like coming full circle,” she said.
The announcement of the winners of the different categories was made at a ceremony in Saint Paul Minnesota on Saturday and Arimah would go home with the best award for Novel & Short Story. He reaction after winning? She posted on Instagram, “Holy shit. #MinnesotaBookAwards”
Below are images from the writer’s Instagram from the award ceremony.