Open Country Mag Hosts O. Henry Prize 2021 Winners: Jowhor Ile & Adachioma Ezeano

Watch the Nigerian writers talk the art and state of the modern short story.
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Open Country Mag Hosts O. Henry Prize 2021 Winners: Jowhor Ile and Adachioma Ezeano.

Open Country Mag Hosts O. Henry Prize 2021 Winners: Jowhor Ile and Adachioma Ezeano.

We are excited to announce our second public event. Open Country Mag will be hosting two O. Henry Prize 2021 winners, the Nigerian writers Jowhor Ile and Adachioma Ezeano, in a conversation on the art and state of the short story. The event, on our Instagram Live, will be introduced, and partly moderated, by the Nigerian writer Frances Ogamba, who did the same for our first public event hosting Lolwe and Doek! magazines.

Ile, author of the Etisalat Prize-winning novel And After Many Days, and Ezeano were selected, together with 18 others, for their respective stories “Fisherman’s Stew” and “Becoming the Baby Girl.” Both stories will appear in The Best Short Stories Anthology 2021, guest-edited and introduced by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who has called the winning pieces “profoundly wise.”

Part of Open Country Mag’s mission is to bring back and contextualize essential African literary conversations, and this, two Nigerians winning O. Henrys, is an exciting moment to capture. 

Ile and Ezeano will read from and discuss “Fisherman’s Stew” and “Becoming the Baby Girl,” what their presence in the anthology means for the visibility of Nigerian short fiction, the general state of contemporary short fiction, and what it means to be a writer in this climate and in their different contexts, Ile being a novelist and professor and Ezeano having learned the craft in Nigeria before going for an MFA.  

Our Guests

Jowhor Ile.
Jowhor Ile.

Jowhor Ile was born and raised in Nigeria. He won the Etisalat prize in 2016 for his novel And After Many Days, and his short story was awarded the O. Henry Prize in 2021.

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Ile’s short fiction has appeared in The Sewanee ReviewMcSweeney’s Quarterly, and Litro Magazine. He has taught at West Virginia University and at Boston University where he gained his MFA. Ile lives in London.

Adachioma Ezeano
Adachioma Ezeano.

Adachioma Ezeano is an MFA student at the University of Kentucky. Her work has appeared in The Best Small Fictions: 2020, McSweeney’s Quarterly, and FlashBack Fiction. She is a 2021 O. Henry Prize recipient. 

Our Moderator

Frances Ogamba.
Frances Ogamba.

Frances Ogamba is the winner of the 2020 Inaugural Kalahari Short Story Competition and the 2019 Koffi Addo Prize for Creative Nonfiction. She was a finalist for the 2019 Writivism Short Story Prize and the 2019 Brittle Paper Award for Short Fiction. 

Her fiction has appeared or is forthcoming on Chestnut Review, CRAFT, The Dark Magazine, midnight & indigo, Jalada Africa, Cinnabar Moth, The /tƐmz/ Review, and elsewhere. She is an alumna of the Purple Hibiscus Creative Writing Workshop taught by Chimamanda Adichie. 

A video of this conversation will be available afterwards on Open Country Mag’s website and social media.

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, and Tsitsi Dangarembga. 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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