OluTimehin Adegbeye wins the Gerald Kraak Prize for her essay ‘Mothers and Men’
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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’.

The Jacana Literary Foundation, in partnership with the Other Foundation, announced the 2019 recipient of the prize at an event in Johannesburg, which was also the launch of The Heart of the Matter, the third volume of the Gerald Kraak Anthology, following the 2018 volume, As You Like It.

Congratulations to OluTimehin Adegbeye, whose essay ‘Mothers and Men’ made her this year’s worthy winner. Commendations were also made to Chisom Okafor for his poem ‘On My Coming Out’, and to Chukwuebuka Ibeh for his short story ‘The Sickness of Longing’.

Adegbeye, from Nigeria, is the third recipient of the prize, which was first launched in 2016 in honour of passionate champion for social justice and anti-apartheid activist Gerald Kraak.

This year’s judging panel included head judge Sisonke Msimang, writer, storyteller and author of Always Another Country; Mark Gevisser, one of South Africa’s leading authors and journalists; Professor Sylvia Tamale, a leading African feminist who teaches law at Makerere University in Uganda; and Otosirieze Obi-Young, writer, literary journalist and deputy editor of Brittle Paper.

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. 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.

Watch the 2019 Gerald Kraak Prize judges talking about this year’s entries:

The judges noted the overall quantity and quality of the poetry entry this year, saying: ‘We are pleased that in the category of poetry “On My Coming Out” by Chisom Okafor was our selection. ‘On My Coming Out’, previously published in the Kikwetu Journal, is an affecting and elegantly written poem that speaks to desire, tradition and the enduring power of familial love.’

The judges were also taken by the subtlety of the submission of Chukwuebuka Ibeh: ‘”A Sickness Called Longing” is a haunting and subtle story about loneliness, vulnerability, masculinity and ageing.

The Heart of the Matter is a collection of the 21 shortlisted entries from over 400 submissions received from South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe, and six other African countries. It showcases some provocative works of fiction, poetry and non-fiction. These stories capture the essence of the African LGBTQI+ community and showcase some of Africa’s most talented writers. The anthology gives a voice to those who would otherwise be marginalised and it insists that differences must be recognised, embraced and celebrated.

Submissions for the Gerald Kraak Anthology and Prize are open all year. Click here for guidelines.

Categories Africa Non-fiction

Tags Awards Chisom Okafor Chukwuebuka Ibeh Gerald Kraak Anthology Gerald Kraak Prize Jacana Literary Foundation Jacana Media Mark Gevisser News OluTimehin Adegbeye Otosirieze Obi-Young Sisonke Msimang Sylvia Tamale The Heart of the Matter

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