Rose Okeke was declared the winner of the James Currey Prize for African Literature 2022 at Oxford University, UK on Saturday, September 3, 2022.
The James Currey Prize for African Literature is an annual award for the best-unpublished work of fiction written in English by any writer, set in Africa or on Africans in Africa or in the Diaspora. It was established in honour of James Currey, a publisher of academic books on Africa in 2020. The first winner of the prize was Ani Kayode Somtochukwu in 2021.
The jury for 2022 was chaired by Ever Obi alongside Indian author and scholar, Dr. Suraj Yengde, Teri Sillo (United Kingdom), Thomas Dukelabik Amanquandor (Ghana), Peace Anyiam-Osigwe (Nigeria), Olukorede S Yishau (Nigeria), and Charmaine R Mujeri (Zimbabwe).
The longlist for the awards was announced on June 1 before the shortlist was revealed on July 1. The winner was revealed at the three-day James Currey Literary Festival at the University of Oxford. Some of its guests were James Currey, Margaret Busby, Efe Paul-Azino, Stephen Embleton, Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo, Ever Obi, Ikenna Okeh, Kadija Sesay, Onyeka Nwelue, Okwiri Oduor, Jahman Anikulapo, Shola Adenekan, Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, Obinna Odenigbo, and Ayodele Arigbabu.
The festival was supported by British Council, British Airways, Daniel Ford International, Bodleian Libraries, African Studies Centre, University of Oxford, Pitanga, Heat African, OneWorld Publications, Abibiman Publishing, Hattus Books, FTWeekend Oxford Literary Festival, La Cave Musik, Punch, World Arts Agency, Y!Naija, Open Country Magazine, Sally Dunsmore, BellaNaija, NaijaTimes, ThisIsLagos, and James Murua Literary.
Rose Okeke was garlanded in absentia at a ceremony hosted by OneWorld Publications publisher, Juliet Mabey, on Saturday, September 3.
Speaking about the winning story Ever Obi, the chair of the jury said, “Rose Okeke’s Child of the Corn tells the story of Africa beautifully in terms of the fetish inclination and beliefs. It is also interesting to see the tension in the relationship between Simi and her mother expressed clearly through the narrative, a beautiful reimagination of history.”
She receives £1000 for her story.