Ani Kayode Somtochukwu was revealed to be the winner of the first edition of the James Currey Prize for African Literature on September 3, 2021.
The James Currey Prize for African Literature is an annual award for the best-unpublished work of fiction written in English by any writer, set in Africa or on Africans in Africa or in Diaspora. It was established in 2020 by Nigerian writer, filmmaker and publisher of Hattus Books, Onyeka Nwelue, in honour of James Currey, the leading publisher of academic books on Africa – dedicated to distributing books about Africa in Africa. The winner receives £1000.
Jury members include Canada-based Nigerian publisher, Bibi Ukonu; Dr. Pinkie Megkwe (Botswana), Barbara Adair (South Africa), Kennedy Ekezie-Joseph (Nigeria), Arun Jay (India), and Miko Yamanouchi (Japan).
The longlist for the award was announced on June 16 before the shortlist was revealed on July 1. The winner for the prize is the short story by And Then He Sang A Lullaby by Ani Kayode Somtochukwu. The announcement was made in a virtual event, by the Chair of the Jury, Sarah Inyal Lawal, who described the manuscript ‘as breathtaking.’
Ani Kayode Somtochukwu responded to the win by saying, “Oh my God. My novel manuscript, And Then He Sang A Lullaby, has been awarded the inaugural James Currey Prize for African Literature.”
Read prize founder Onyeka Nwelue speech at the announcement.