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

Interview: The Awakening of Bas

We talk to Bas about The Messenger, Bobi Wine, Sudan, and the globalized body of Black pain.

The first thing you notice when you begin to listen to The Messenger—the new investigative documentary podcast following the rise of Ugandan singer, businessman and revolutionary political figure Bobi Wine—is Bas' rich, paced, and deeply-affecting storytelling voice.

Whether he is talking about Uganda's political landscape, painting a picture of Bobi Wine's childhood, or drawing parallels between the violence Black bodies face in America and the structural oppression Africans on the continent continue to endure at the hands of corrupt government administrations, there is no doubt that Bas (real name Abbas Hamad) has an intimate understanding of what he's talking about.

We speak via Zoom, myself in Lagos, and him in his home studio in Los Angeles where he spends most of his time writing as he cools off from recording the last episode of The Messenger. It's evident that the subject matter means a great deal to the 33-year-old Sudanese-American rapper, both as a Black man living in America and one with an African heritage he continues to maintain deep ties with. The conversation around Black bodies enduring various levels of violence is too urgent and present to ignore and this is why The Messenger is a timely and necessary cultural work.

Below, we talk with Bas aboutThe Messenger podcast, Black activism, growing up with parents who helped shape his political consciousness and the globalized body of Black pain.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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