Arinze Ifeakandu Leads Shortlist for $50,000 Kirkus Prize

The debut Nigerian author’s short story collection, God’s Children Are Little Broken Things, has seen him compared to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Zadie Smith and praised by Damon Galgut.
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Arinze Ifeakandu by Bec Stupak Diop.

Arinze Ifeakandu by Bec Stupak Diop.

Arinze Ifeakandu has been announced among the finalists for this year’s Kirkus Prize, for his debut book God’s Children Are Little Broken Things, a collection of nine stories following working class gay men in Nigeria. Earlier this year, in our review, we called the book’s artistic success “a testament to an incoming generation of African writers.” The book has been praised by Booker Prize winner Damon Galgut.

At $50,000, the Kirkus Prize is one of the richest literary awards. The same amount goes to each of three winners in the categories of fiction, nonfiction, and young readers’ literature.

Arinze Ifeakandu’s debut, God’s Children Are Little Broken Things, dissects queer male intimacy.

“This year’s crop of Kirkus Prize finalists is an exhilaratingly diverse collection of books on a wide range of topics from authors across the United States and around the globe,” said Kirkus Reviews editor-in-chief Tom Beer. “Chosen by our hardworking judges from among the very best books our critics reviewed in the past year, these titles are truly on the top shelf of contemporary literature.”

The judges are Deesha Philyaw, Luis Correa, Wendy Smith, and Laurie Muchnick, the fiction editor of Kirkus Reviews.

Ifeakandu is shortlisted in fiction alongside Michelle de Kretser for Scary Monsters, Hernan Diaz for Trust, and Susan Straight for Mecca. Also in the category are two translated books: Scattered All Over the Earth, written by Yoko Tawada and translated by Margaret Mitsutani, and The Books of Jacobwritten by Nobel laureate Olga Tokarczuk and translated by Jennifer Croft.

The winners will be announced on October 27 at a ceremony at the Austin Central Library in Austin, Texas. The ceremony will be livestreamed on Kirkus’ YouTube channel starting at 7pm EDT.

Emmanuel Esomnofu
Emmanuel Esomnofu is a staff writer at Open Country Mag. He is a culture journalist and has written extensively on Nigerian music and on several moving parts of popular culture. His writing appears online in Native Mag, Okay Africa, Kalahari Review, Praxis Magazine, and elsewhere. He was published in print in The Muse, the oldest student journal in West Africa. In December 2020, he worked on "Fuji: A Opera" as a copywriter, creating informative and exciting stories from Fuji's rich history.

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