TWO Nigerian authors, Oyinkan Braithwaite and Diana Evans, have made the 2019 Women’s Prize for Literature shortlist. This is the first time two Africans have been named finalists at the same time. Diana and Oyinkan are among the six finalists for the 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction.
The Women’s Prize for Fiction, previously known as the Orange Prize for Fiction and the Baileys Women’s Prize For Fiction, is one of the most prestigious literature awards in the world.
In March, Braithwaite and Evans made the long-list alongside Akwaeke Emezi who, unfortunately, was not shortlisted. Braithwaite was nominated for her book ‘My Sister, The Serial Killer’ and Evans for ‘Ordinary People’. Other shortlisted authors include Pat Barker for ‘The Silence of the Girls’, Anna Burns for ‘Milkman’, Tayari Jones for ‘An American Marriage’ and Madeline Miller for ‘Circe’. The prestigious prize has honoured many great authors since it was launched in 1996, including Chimamanda Adichie, who won in 2007 for ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’. .
News agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that it is a significant career boost and it comes with a £30,000 ($40,000) prize. It was created after the Bookers Prize of 1991 where none of the six shortlisted books was by a woman, despite 60 per cent of novels that year being published by female authors.
Chaired by Prof. Kate Williams, the 2019 judging panel includes journalists Dolly Alderton and Arifa Akbar, anti-FGM activist Leyla Hussein. Sarah Wood OBE, the chair and co-founder of the global video advertising marketplace, Unruly was also on the panel.