Jumoke Verissimo’s debut novel, A Small Silence was declared the winner of the Aidoo-Snyder Prize for Best Creative Work 2020 winner on November 17, 2020.
The Aidoo-Snyder book prize is awarded by the Women’s Caucus of the African Studies Association for an outstanding book that prioritizes African women’s experiences. Named in honour of Ama Ata Aidoo, the celebrated Ghanaian novelist and short-story writer, and Margaret Snyder, the founding Director of UNIFEM, this $500 prize seeks to acknowledge the excellence of contemporary scholarship being produced by women about African women. In alternate years, the prize is awarded for the best scholarly book, or for the best creative work. Some previous winners of the award first handed out in 2005 include Yvonne Vera, Aminatta Forna, Grace Bantebya-Kyomuhendo, Yaa Gyasi among others.
The winner of this year’s award is Nigerian poet and writer Jumoke Verissimo for her debut novel, A Small Silence. Verissimo made the revelation on the win via Twitter stating, “So I got the email: ‘women’s Caucus at the African Studies Association has selected A Small Silence as the winner of the 2020 Aidoo-Snyder Prize for Best Creative Work.’ And yes, yes, yes, your congratulations are in order :)”
Jumoke Verissimo writes poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction. She has published two collections of poetry; I am memory won the Carlos Idzia Ahmad Prize’s First Prize for a first book of Poetry, and the Second Prize for the Anthony Agbo Prize first book of Poetry, and The Birth of Illusion was shortlisted for the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) Poetry Prize and longlisted for the NLNG Prize. She has also published a chapbook with Saraba Magazine, titled Epiphanies (2015). Her poetry has been translated into French, Chinese, Japanese, Macedonian, and Norwegian. Jumoke is currently enrolled in a Ph.D. programme in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta, Canada.