2022 James Currey Prize for African Literature announces longlist of 10

The judges for the 2022 James Currey Prize for African Literature have released the longlist of 10 writers.

On the longlist of the second edition, are Rose Okeke for Child of Corn, Sumaila Isah Umaisha for Glass House,  Mohammed Hammie for Mandinga’s Well, David Ngumi for The Hitman, Buntu Siwisa for Paperless and Esomnofu Ebelenna Tobenna for Madness. 

Also on the list, are Chima Ugokwe for Drumbeat of the Gods, Evanson Njuki for If War Were a Country,  Abenea Ndago for Lord Kitchener and Peter Muigai for In the Castle of My Heart.

A shortlist will be released on 1st July, 2022 and this will be followed by the announcement of the winner on 3rd September at a prize ceremony scheduled at the University of Oxford during the James Currey Literary Festival.


Ever Obi, Chair of Jury, in his statement said: “It is my pleasure to announce the longlist of the 2021 James Currey Prize for African Literature. The College of Readers sent in 20 entries, which we as the Jury had to cut down to a longlist of 10. The 20 manuscripts in competition were distributed amongst all Jury members – in no particular order. 

We have now assessed them, using our criteria and guideline to come up with a longlist.”

According to him, the longlist will now be distributed amongst jurors to determine the final 5, which will be announced on 1st July 2022. 

Jury members include Indian author and scholar, Dr. Suraj Yengde, Teri Sillo (United Kingdom), Thomas Dukelabik Amanquandor (Ghana), Peace Anyiam-Osigwe (Nigeria), Olukorede S Yishau (Nigeria), and Charmaine R Mujeri (Zimbabwe). 

The inaugural James Currey Prize for African Literature was awarded in 2021 to Ani Kayode Somtochukwu for his novel, “And Then He Sang a Lullaby,” which is forthcoming from the Grove Atlantic imprint Roxane Gay Books in 2023.

Professor James Currey and Onyeka Nwelue at the African Studies Centre, University of Oxford

The James Currey Prize for African Literature was instituted by Nigerian writer, filmmaker, bookseller and publisher, Onyeka Nwelue, who founded the Oxford-based James Currey Society and is an Academic Visitor at the African Studies Centre, University of Oxford. 

James Currey, the co-founder of James Currey Publishers, which was established in 1984, has been called “The Godfather of African Literature”. His publishing house is responsible for producing a vast number of academic books, journals, fiction and non-fiction books about Africa, especially in a period when it was considered not profitable to publish books about Africa. He, together with Chinua Achebe, under the auspices of Heinemann Publishers, produced the famous African Writers Series (AWS), which have inspired many African(ist)s around the world.

The Prize is administered by the James Currey Society, under the auspices of African Studies Centre, University of Oxford. 

It is supported by Abibiman Publishing, Weston Library, University of Oxford,  Naija Times, The Lagos Review, 28 Studios, BellaNaija, Open Country Magazine, Y! Naija, La Cave Musik, FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival, Daniel Ford International, World Arts Agency, Sally Dunsmore, British Council and British Airways.

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