Lesley Nneka Arimah’s short story collection What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky is the recipient of the Italian Bridge Book Award 2018.
The Bridge Book Award is a prize designed to connect the cultures of Italy and America and promotes knowledge of the most recent literary trends in the two countries. The Award is conferred annually on one work of Fiction and one work of Non-Fiction, which have been recently published in Italy and the United States. It consists of a sum to cover the translation costs from English to Italian and the other way.
This year the winner of the fiction award from the US side is a Nigerian born Lesley Nneka Arimah for her book What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky. The book is described in the blurb thus “A dazzlingly accomplished debut collection explores the ties that bind parents and children, husbands and wives, lovers and friends to one another and to the places they call home. In “Who Will Greet You at Home,” a National Magazine Award finalist for The New Yorker, A woman desperate for a child weaves one out of hair, with unsettling results. In “Wild,” a disastrous night out shifts a teenager and her Nigerian cousin onto uneasy common ground. In “The Future Looks Good,” three generations of women are haunted by the ghosts of war, while in “Light,” a father struggles to protect and empower the daughter he loves. And in the title story, in a world ravaged by flood and riven by class, experts have discovered how to “fix the equation of a person” – with rippling, unforeseen repercussions. Evocative, playful, subversive, and incredibly human, What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky heralds the arrival of a prodigious talent with a remarkable career ahead of her.”
Arimah beat out some pretty big names to get her book into the Italian language including Bethany Ball, Tayari Jones, and Jesmyn Ward.