The Gerald Kraak Prize Awarded to Roy Udeh-Ubaka

The Nigerian writer was chosen for his short story, “Until It Doesn’t,” which the judges called “brave fiction that tweaks the possibilities of the short story form.”
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Roy Udeh-Ubaka wins Gerald Kraak Prize.

Roy Udeh-Ubaka has won the Gerald Kraak Prize.

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.

Roy Udeh-Ubaka with Mark Gevisser at the prize ceremony tonight. Credit to The Other Foundation.
Roy Udeh-Ubaka with Mark Gevisser at the prize ceremony tonight. Credit: The Other Foundation.

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.

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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.

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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