The Nigerian writer Roy Udeh-Ubaka has been awarded the 2022 Gerald Kraak Prize. The announcement came minutes ago at the award ceremony, which was held at the ColourDay in Cape Town. The ceremony was part of the Kopano Festival, which is ongoing today, May 25, Africa Day.
Organized by The Other Foundation and The Jacana Literary Foundation, The Gerald Kraak Prize encompasses fiction, poetry, journalism, photography, and academic writing on sexuality, gender, and social justice. This year’s award received over 200 submissions from over 20 African countries.
Last week, the prize announced a shortlist of 12: Kanyinsola Olorunnisola, Abdulrahim Hussani, Halim Olaposi, Chisom Okafor, Moso Sematlane, Obinna Obioma, Ernest Ogunyemi, Kasimma, Sheena Magenya, Davina Philomena Nassozi-Kawuma, and Udeh-Ubaka.
The finalists were chosen by an illustrious judging panel comprising Open Country Mag editor Otosirieze Obi-Young, as chair; the South African journalist and activist Mark Gevisser; and the Zimbabwean editor Ellah Pedzisai Wakatama.
Udeh-Ubaka’s story, “Until It Doesn’t,” was described as “brave fiction that tweaks the possibilities of the short story form, both in its use of voice and the way it compresses time, to illuminate the truth of so many queer people: the need to marry and make families. . . it is beautiful how so much life is packed in and yet there is restraint.”
Ukamaka Olisakwe was named runner-up, for her poem “Slut” and her short story “The Grasscutter’s Curse.”
Udeh-Ubaka will receive $2,000, Olisakwe will get $500, and, for the first time, all the other 10 shortlisted writers will get paid, too—$200.
Previous winners of the Gerald Kraak Prize include short story writer Farah Ahamed and photographer Sarah Waisaw in 2017, nonfiction writer Pwaangulongii Dauod in 2018, and nonfiction writer OluTimehin Adegbeye in 2019.