The fourth anthology of the Gerald Kraak Prize, for 2022, is forthcoming this year. Its title is The Beautyful Ones Have Just Been Born, a play on the Ghanaian novelist Ayi Kwei Armah’s 1968 debut The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born. “These stories,” its publisher Jacana Media said in an announcement, “capture the essence of the African LGBTQI+ community and showcase some of Africa’s most talented writers.”
The Gerald Kraak Prize awards fiction, poetry, journalism, photography, and academic writing on gender, social Justice, and sexuality in Africa. It was launched in 2016 in honour of the late anti-Apartheid activist and author Gerald Kraak, who was South African. An initiative of The Other Foundation, organised with The Jacana Literary Foundation, it is the only African prize open to all forms of writing and art.
The 2022 judging panel comprised the South African journalist and activist Mark Gevisser; the Zimbabwean editor Ellah Wakatama, who is also chair of the AKO Caine Prize; and the Nigerian culture journalist Otosirieze Obi-Young, editor of Open Country Mag, as Chair.
Out of 200 submissions from 20 African countries, Obi-Young selected the longlist. Three mentors, Shaun de Waal, Makhosazana Xaba, and Sandile Ngidi, worked with a few longlisted writers, before the entire judging panel decided on the 12 finalists.
The Nigerian writer Roy Udeh-Ubaka received the $2,000 prize during a ceremony at the Kopano Festival in Cape Town, and another Nigerian, Ukamaka Olisakwe, was awarded $500 as runner-up. Each of the remaining 10 finalists received $200.
The Beautyful Ones Have Just Been Born collects work by the 12 shortlisted writers:
- Kanyinsola Olorunnisola, “The Women in My Life Are Unfinished Portraits” (fiction)
- Abdulrahim Hussani, “Twilight” (fiction)
- Halim Olaposi, “The Road” (fiction)
- Chisom Okafor, “A Shorter Note on My Coming Out,” “My Sex Drive as a Basis for Other Interpretations,” and “Birthing” (poetry)
- Moso Sematlane, “The Boys Whose Hearts Were Sepulchres” (fiction)
- Obinna Obioma, “When God Is a (Wo)man” (fiction)
- Ernest Ogunyemi, “Impossible” (poetry)
- Kasimma, “Where One Falls Is Where Their God Pushed Them Down” (fiction)
- Sheena Magenya, “A Thing More Difficult Than This” (fiction)
- Davina Philomena Nassozi-Kawuma, “Of Birds and Bees” (fiction)
- Ukamaka Olisakwe, “Slut” (poetry) and “The Grasscutters Curse” (fiction)
- Roy Udeh-Ubaka, “Until It Doesn’t” (fiction)
The Beautyful Ones Have Just Been Born is edited by Otosirieze Obi-Young.
Previous Gerald Kraak Prize anthologies include the inaugural volume Pride and Prejudice (2017), As You Like It (2018), and The Heart of the Matter (2019). As You Like It received the 2019 LAMBDA Literary Award for LGBTQ Anthology Fiction, an award that The Heart of the Matter would also be a finalist for.
Jacana Media describes the writing in The Beautyful Ones Have Just Been Born as “inspiring and fearless.” The anthology, it says, “gives a voice to those who would otherwise be marginalised and it insists that differences must be recognised, embraced and celebrated.”