OluTimehin Adegbeye has won the R25 000 Gerald Kraak Prize, which honours African writing and photography that ‘provokes thought on the topics of gender, social justice and sexuality’.
Commendations were also made by the judges to Chisom Okafor for his poem, ‘On My Coming Out’, and to Chukwuebuka Ibeh for his short story, ‘The Sickness of Longing’.
The three joined eighteen others on the 2019 prize’s shortlist, which singled out fiction, essays and poetry this year. Find the 2019 shortlist here.
From the statement on the winner from the Jacana Literary Foundation and the Other Foundation, which jointly sponsor the prize, the judges
… were taken by the fierce intensity of ‘Mothers and Men’, a meditation on the bonds between mothers and daughters. The essay explores the fragility of healing with a rare sensitivity and insight. OluTimehin Adegbeye’s voice walks the fine line between heartbreak and redemption, casting new light on questions of rape and secondary victimisation in ways that are new and important. Adegbeye is an urgent and timely voice and both her substantive interests and her prose and befitting of a prize that exists to champion human rights and complicate the framing of what it means to be African today.
This year’s judging panel comprised Sisonke Msimang, Mark Gevisser, Sylvia Tamale and Otosirieze Obi-Young.
Watch the 2019 Gerald Kraak Prize judges talking about this year’s entries:
Adegbeye, from Nigeria, is the third recipient of the prize. Last year’s winner was Pwaangulongii Dauod, for his essay ‘Africa’s future has no space for stupid black men’; and in 2016 Farah Ahamed and Sarah Waiswa jointly won the prize for ‘Poached Eggs’ and ‘Stranger in a Familiar Land’, a work of fiction and a work of photography, respectively.
Adegbeye’s essay is published by Jacana Media in The Heart of the Matter, the third volume of the Gerald Kraak Anthology which was launched in Johannesburg last night. It follows the 2018 volume, As You Like It, and the 2017 volume, Pride and Prejudice: African Perspectives on Gender, Social Justice and Sexuality. Watch out for The Heart of the Matter on South African bookshelves soon.