Literature
Image courtesy of Doubleday Publishing.

These 3 Nigerian Authors Have Been Nominated for the 2019 Women's Prize for Fiction

This year also marks the first time that a non-binary writer has been longlisted for the prize.

Nigerian writers continue to break barriers in the world of literature, as three authors who hail from the country have been longlisted for this year's prestigious Women's Prize for Fiction.

The longlist, which is the UK's foremost award for women in literature, includes 16 women, whose work represents a multitude of themes and perspectives. Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche won the award back in 2007 for Half of a Yellow Sun.


Writer Akwaeke Emezi earned a place on the longlist for their debut novel Freshwater, making them the first non-binary author to earn a nomination for the prize. The author also shared on Twitter earlier today that the acclaimed novel is a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in trans fiction.

Oyinkan Braithwaite, the author of the Lagos-set crime thriller My Sister, the Serial Killer has also been longlisted for the Women's Prize. We spoke with the 30-year-old author last month about the novel, and working outside of the confines of what is considered traditional 'African Lit' and writing female characters. "Generally, I'm interested in women and in women having their own agency," she told OkayAfrica. "I wasn't trying to write a feminist book, but because I'm a woman who believes that women can do anything, whenever I write characters, that will always come up."

The third Nigerian author nominated on the list is Diana Evans, the journalist, novelist and critic behind Ordinary People, a book that examines suburban black life through major cultural events, beginning with Barack Obama's 2008 presidential victory. She has previously won the Orange Award for New Writers, the Betty Trask Award and the deciBel Writer of the Year award.

Congrats to these literary powerhouses. The shortlist for the Women's Prize in Fiction will be announced on April 29, and the winner on Jun 5.

Music
Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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