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Nigerian author Akwaeke Emezi

The NOMMO Awards Long List Spotlights The Best Of African Speculative Fiction

African authors Lauren Beukes, Abie Daré, Ewaeke Emezi, Ben Okri and more have made the 2021 Nommo Awards Long List.

African literature has, once again, been thrust centre stage with the exciting release of the Nommo Awards Nomination Long List, which prizes the African Speculative Fiction genre. The long list is a thrilling step ahead of the upcoming Nommo Awards this year. Nigerian writers lead with nominations across the four categories — "Best Novel", "Best Novella", "Best Short Story" and "Best Graphic Novel". All eyes will be on the highly coveted "Best Novel" category, comprised of 15 of the best African Speculative fiction works published between January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2020.


South African novelist Lauren Beukes made the "Best Novel" long list for UnGirls. While New York Times best seller Abi Daré, has been selected for her brave and wondrous debut novel The Girl With The Louding Voice, written in Nigerian pidgin English. Prolific Kenyan writer and critical thinkerNgũgĩ wa Thiong'o has also been long-listed for his latest body of work The Perfect Nine, written in his native Gikuyu. Remarkable writer Ben Okri's Freedom Artist is also in the running. The Death of Vivek Oji, a spiritually and psychologically-charged piece of literary art,is another firm contender from Akwaeke Emezi. Emezi was at the receiving end of the 2021 Women's Prize controversy because of their non-gender conforming identity.

The Nommo Long List has duly recognised queer voices for the visually encapsulating comic book Meanwhile..., which grabbed a comfortable spot in the "Best Graphic Novel" category. Meanwhile... features collective stories of queer experiences from across the African continent. The graphic novel was created in conjunction with Quinto Collab (various writers & artists), MaThoko's Books, an imprint of South Africa's Gay and Lesbian memory in Action (GALA) Queer Archive. Zambian-based comic house Black House Comics, on the other hand, dominated the long list with three of its featured writer-artists — a great feat for the Africa's graphic novel field.

Short stories have always been popular within African literature, and the long list has the most nominees with just over 50 authors. Zimbabwean writer Shanice Ndlovu, published her 2020 novel The Pride of Noonlay through South African publishing house Modjaji Books, and has instead been nominated for her short story "A Water Heart". The 2020 Nommo "Best Novel" shortlist featured young South African author Masande Ntshanga for Triangulum. The "Best Novel" prize subsequently went to Nigerian Sci-fi writer Suyo Davies Okungbowa'sDavid Mojo, Godhunter.

Read: Interview: Masande Ntshanga Ponders What it Means to be a Native in Past and Future Millenia

The literary award is named after the Nommo mythological amphibious creature which has its origins in Mali and offers a cosmological perspective on mastery. The shortlist will be announced at the end of May, and voting will commence shortly afterwards.

Here is the full list of all the nominees in all four Nommo long lists.

2021 NOVEL LONG LIST

  • The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré
  • The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi
  • Freedom Artist by Ben Okri
  • King of the Hollow Dark by Cat Hellisen
  • Claiming T-Mo by Eugen Bacon
  • The Down Days by Ilze Hugo
  • The First Woman by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
  • Afterland by Lauren Beukes
  • The Perfect Nine by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o
  • Water Must Fall by Nick Wood
  • Club Ded by Nikhil Singh
  • Soul Searching by Stephen Embleton
  • The Rosewater Redemption by Tade Thompson
  • Rebel Sisters by Tochi Onyebuchi
  • A Trial of Sparks and Kindling by Yolande Horak

2021 NOVELLA LONG LIST

  • Ferryman by Caldon Mull
  • Convergence in Chorus Architecture by Dare Segun Falowo
  • A Fledgling Abiba by Dilman Dila
  • Ife-Ikyoku: The Tale of Imadeyunuagbon by Ekpeki Oghenechovwe Donald
  • Ivory's Story by Eugen Bacon
  • Ungirls by Lauren Beukes
  • The Satellite Charmer by Mame Bougouma Diene
  • The Kigango Oracle by Moraa Gitaa
  • The Silence of the Wilting Skin by Tlotlo Tsamaase
  • Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi

2021 SHORT STORY LONG LIST

  • "The Not-So-Secret Lives of Nigerian Politicians" by Adelehin Ijasan
  • "That Which Smells Bad" by Aline-Mwezi Niyonsenga
  • "The Game" by Alvin Kathembe
  • "What the Dead Man Said" by Chinelo Onwualu
  • "A Love Song for Herkinal as composed by Ashkernas amid the ruins of New Haven" by Chinelo Onwualu
  • "The Chronical of Anaoma" by Chinwe Marycynthia Okafor
  • "Space Bakide Ride" by Colin Cloud Dance
  • "Ngozi Ugegbe Nwa" by Dare Segun Falowo
  • "Fort Kwame" by Derek Lubangakene
  • "The Cult of Reminiscence" by Derek Lubangakene
  • "Red_Bati" by Dilman Dila
  • "Yat Madit" by Dilman Dila
  • "A Visit in Whitechapel" by Eugen Bacon
  • "The One Who Sees" by Eugen Bacon
  • "The Road to Woop Woop" by Eugen Bacon
  • "Still She Visits" by Eugen Bacon
  • "Rat and Finch are Friends" by Innocent Chizaram Ilo
  • "The Red Earth" by John Barigye
  • "Lekki Lekki" by Mame Bougouma Diene
  • "Do Androids Dream of Capitalism and Slavery" by Mandisi Nkomo
  • "Rainmaker" by Mazi Nwonwu
  • "A Curse at Midnight" by Moustapha Mbacké Diop
  • "Things Boys Do" by 'Pemi Aguda
  • "Manifest" by 'Pemi Aguda
  • "Clanfall: Death of Kings" by Odida Nyabundi
  • "The Mannequin Challenge" by Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki
  • "Blueland" by Olamide Olanrewaju
  • "Ibrahim and the Green Fishing Net"by Omar William Sow
  • "To Look Forward" by Osahon Ize-Iyamu
  • "Where the Rain Mothers Are" by Rafeeat Aliyu
  • "The Daemon King of England" by Rafeeat Aliyu
  • "Fruit of the Calabash" by Rafeeat Aliyu
  • "Blood is Another Word for Hunger" by Rivers Solomon
  • "Fairy Tales for Robots" by Sofia Samatar
  • "Where You Go" by Somto O. Ihezue
  • "Orlanda" by Tade Thompson
  • "The Cure" by Tariro Ndoro
  • "Egoli" by T L Huchu
  • "Corialis" by T L Huchu
  • "The Bend of Water" by Tiah Marie Beautement
  • "Thoughtbox" by Tlotlo Tsamaase
  • "River of Night" by Tlotlo Tsamaase
  • "Behind Our Irises" by Tlotlo Tsamaase
  • "Drummer Boy in a World" by Tobi Ogundiran
  • "Guardian of the Gods" by Tobi Ogundiran
  • "The Goatkeeper's Harvest" by Tobi Ogundiran
  • "A Water Heart" by Shanice Ndlovu
  • "And This is How to Say" by Shingai Njeri Kagunda
  • "Tends to Zero" by Wole Talabi
  • "Red Cloth White Giraffe" by Yvette Lisa Ndlovu
  • "The Wonder of Spirits" by Yvonne Nezianya

2021 GRAPHIC NOVEL LONG LIST

  • Alex by Anna Mbale (writer) and Mwiche Songolo (artist) – Black Hut Comics
  • Black Sheep by Mwiche Songolo (writer & artist) – Black Hut Comics
  • Meanwhile… by Quinto Collab (various writers & artists), MaThoko's Books, an imprint of GALA Queer Archive
  • Moongirls by Nana Akosua Hanson (writer) AnimaxFYB Studios (art) – Ghana Drama Queens Collective
  • New Men by Murewa Ayodele (writer) and Dotun Akande (artist) – Collectible Comics.
  • Titan by Mazuba Chimbeza (writer & artist) – Black Hut Comics
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