Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie & Pemi Aguda Win 2022 O. Henry Prizes

Adichie, who guest-edited the 2021 anthology and is winning for the third time, was selected for her story “Zikora.”
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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie by Manny Jefferson.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie by Manny Jefferson.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and ‘Pemi Aguda, a Nigerian writer, have been announced among winners of the 2022 O. Henry Prizes. The two Nigerians join 18 other writers selected for the annual short story award, founded in 1919 and considered the most prestigious in the US. The stories will appear in the annual prize anthology, The Best Short Stories 2022: The O. Henry Prize Winners.

Adichie, notably, guest-edited the 2021 anthology, among whose winners were two Nigerians, Jowhor Ile and Adachioma Ezeano. This is the third O. Henry Prize win for the culture icon—who appeared on Open Country Mag’s September 2021 cover—following those in 2003 and 2010. Aguda, a former finalist for the National Magazine Awards, happens to be a graduate of Adichie’s famed workshop in Lagos.

The winning stories are usually selected by the guest editor, who this year is Valeria Luiselli. She selected Adichie’s “Zikora,” published by Amazon Original Stories, and Aguda’s “Breastmilk,” in One Story. She further picked 10 stories in translation—in Bengali, Greek, Hebrew, Norwegian, Polish, Russian, and Spanish.

Pemi Aguda. From pemiaguda.com.
Pemi Aguda. Photo from pemiaguda.com.

“If stories give us a window through which to momentarily enter the soul of another person, then translated stories magically transcend the limits of the language that has shaped our consciousness,” said Jenny Minton Quigley, Series Editor of the O. Henry Prize anthology. “The subjects of this year’s twenty winning stories are predictably varied, but many touch on the pandemic, love and loss, though there is also humor and their appeal is universally human.”

The 20 O. Henry Prize 2022 winners

Alejandro Zambra, translated from the Spanish by Megan McDowell
Screen Time,” The New York Times Magazine

Daniel Mason
The Wolves of Circassia,” Zoetrope

Tere Dávila, translated from the Spanish by Rebecca Hanssens-Reed
“Mercedes’s Special Talent,” The Offing

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Joseph O’Neill
“Rainbows,” The New Yorker

Shanteka Sigers
“A Way with Bea,” The Paris Review

Olga Tokarczuk, translated from the Polish by Jennifer Croft
Seams,” Freeman’s

Yohanca Delgado
“The Little Widow from the Capital,” The Paris Review

Eshkol Nevo, translated from the Hebrew by Sondra Silverston
“Lemonade,” Guernica

’Pemi Aguda
“Breastmilk,” One Story

Amar Mitra, translated from the Bengali by Anish Gupta
“The Old Man of Kusumpur,” The Common

Christos Ikonomou, translated from the Greek by Karen Emmerich
“Where They Always Meet,” The Yale Review

Janika Oza
“Fish Stories,” The Kenyon Review

Vladimir Sorokin, translated from the Russian by Max Lawton
“Horse Soup,” n+1

Francisco González
“Clean Teen,” Gulf Coast

Michel Nieva, translated from the Spanish by Natasha Wimmer
“Dengue Boy,” Granta

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
“Zikora,” Amazon Original Stories

Gunnhild Øyehaug, translated from the Norwegian by Kari Dickson
“Apples,” Freeman’s

David Ryan
“Warp and Weft,” Harvard Review

Lorrie Moore
“Face Time,” The New Yorker

Samanta Schweblin, translated from the Spanish by Megan McDowell
“An Unlucky Man,” McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern

The Best Short Stories 2022: The O. Henry Prize Winners, edited by Valeria Luiselli and series edited by Jenny Minton Quigley, will be published in September by Anchor Books.

Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young, a writer, culture journalist, curator, and media consultant, is the founder and editor of Open Country Mag. He was editor of Folio Nigeria, CNN’s exclusive media affiliate in Africa, and has led or joined editorial teams at a host of platforms and projects in African literature. He has written about the Nigerian culture scene, covering innovation in over 20 fields including art, music, tech, sports, cuisine, fashion, journalism, sculpture, beauty, health, and activism. In literature, his Profile subjects have included Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Teju Cole, Damon Galgut, Tsitsi Dangarembga, and Maaza Mengiste. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition. He sat on the judging panel of The Morland Scholarship, a British grant for African writers, and currently chairs the panel of The Gerald Kraak Prize, a South African initiative for storytelling about gender, sexuality, and social justice. He has an MA in African Studies and a BA in English and History from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He taught English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. He is currently studying for an MFA at the Iowa Writers' Workshop. In 2019, he received the inaugural The Future Awards Africa Prize for Literature. In 2020, he was named among “The 100 Most Influential Young Nigerians” by Avance Media. Twitter & Instagram: @otosirieze. Website: otosirieze.com.

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