News Brief

How to Vote for the African Writers Longlisted for the Alternative Nobel Literature Prize

Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Nnedi Okorafor have been longlisted for the Alternative Nobel Prize and you can vote for them.

Tired of seeing African writers shut out of the Nobel Prize for literature? With the official prize cancelled this year due to a sexual harassment scandal now's your chance to make the case.

There will be no Nobel Literature Prize this year, but there is now an alternative prize created by The New Academy and three African writers have made the longlist.

It's no surprise that Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Nnedi Okorafor have been nominated. Okorafor has been leading in the sci-fi world and it was just announced that she will soon be writing the spinoff to Black Panther that focuses on the character Shuri. Adichie has been a leading figure in discourses around feminism and literature, and she also recently won the Pen Pinter Prize.


Ngugi wa Thiong'o is the least surprising name on the list since he has been a constant favorite to win the Nobel Peace prize. He was snubbed in 2016 when Bob Dylan won triggering Wole Soyinka to respond, "Since I've written quite a number of songs for my plays, I would like to be nominated for a Grammy."

Of course the question still remains, now that an alternative to the Nobel Prize has been created can the alternative prestigious prize for African writers be something else altogether? However, it's undeniable that global literature prizes benefit writers and now you can cast your vote for your favorite writer to be short listed.

The award is now open to the public for voting until August 14. After the shortlist, selected members from The New Academy will select a winner. The winner will be announced October 14.


You can cast your vote here.


Interview
Photo: Benoit Peverelli

Interview: Oumou Sangaré Proves Why She's the Songbird of Wassoulou

We caught up with the Malian singer to talk about her new Acoustic album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

When Oumou Sangaré tells me freedom is at her core, I am not surprised. If you listen to her discography, you'll be hard-pressed to find a song that doesn't center or in some way touch on women's rights or child abuse. The Grammy award-winning Malian singer has spent a significant part of her career using her voice to fight for the rights of women across Africa and the world, a testimony to this is her naming her debut studio album Moussolou, meaning Woman. The album, a pure masterpiece that solidified Oumou's place amongst the greats and earned her the name 'Songbird of Wassoulou,' was a commercial success selling over 250,000 records in Africa and would in turn go on to inspire other singers across the world.

On her latest body of work Acoustic, a reworking of her critically acclaimed 2017 album Mogoya, Oumou Sangaré proves how and why she earned her accolades. The entirety of the 11-track album was recorded within two days in the Midi Live studio in Villetaneuse in 'live' conditions—with no amplification, no retakes or overdubs, no headphones. Throughout the album, using her powerful and raw voice that has come to define feminism in Africa and shaped opinions across the continent, Oumou boldly addresses themes like loss, polygamy and female circumcision.

We caught up with the Malian singer at the studio she is staying while in quarantine to talk about her new album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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