MoAD announces Eloghosa Osunde as 2023 African Literary Award finalist

In a thrilling revelation on Monday, November 20, the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) unveiled Eloghosa Osunde, the author of Vagabonds!, as the distinguished finalist for its second annual African Literary Award. This prestigious accolade recognises Osunde’s exceptional literary prowess, applauding a work that transcends borders and enriches the global understanding of African lives and storytelling.

Osunde’s novel, Vagabonds!, dauntlessly explores a kaleidoscope of characters, including the queer, the poor, the displaced, and those who embrace alternative realities. Their existence, a form of resistance, unfolds in transient spaces, creating a narrative that challenges norms and expands the boundaries of conventional storytelling.

The virtual Award Ceremony, scheduled for Sunday, December 3rd, at 12 pm PST/2100 WAT, according to a statement, promises an unforgettable celebration of literary excellence. The programme will feature a live reading and a captivating conversation moderated by Faith Adiele, co-founder of the African Book Club. Enthusiasts and literary connoisseurs alike can register for this event at MoAD’s official website

Expressing gratitude for this esteemed recognition, Osunde remarked, “I’ve known about and respected the work being done at MoAD for some time now, so this feels like a particularly precious moment.” The author further acknowledged the impact of Vagabonds! beyond its narrative, emphasising the significance of stories that leave a lasting mark.

The African Literary Awards owe their existence to the generous support of MoAD member Cedric Brown, an ardent advocate of arts in the diaspora. This backing underscores the importance of fostering and celebrating African literary achievements on a global scale.

Osunde, of Nigerian origin with a unique voice recognised by the Lambda Literary Workshop and the Caine Prize Workshop, adding a distinctive flavour to the contemporary literary landscape, has garnered acclaim not only for Vagabonds! but also for contributions to various publications, including the Paris Review, Granta and Vogue.  

In addition to Osunde, the African Literary Award acknowledges the exceptional contributions of previously shortlisted authors. Meron Hadero, an Ethiopian-American, for her debut short story collection, A Down Home Meal for These Difficult Times, while Arinze Ifeakandu, born in Kano, Nigeria, for God’s Children Are Little Broken Things, a testament to his writing prowess. Noor Naga, an Alexandrian writer, for If an Egyptian Cannot Speak English, a novel recognised with multiple accolades, including the Graywolf Press Africa Prize.

Honorable mentions include Haji Jabir’s Black Foam, a groundbreaking Eritrean novel, and Okwiri Oduor’s Things They Lost: A Novel, winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing.

Launched in 2015 by Faith Adiele and Holly Shogbesan, the African Book Club stands as a beacon for the current renaissance of African literature. The series, now a core component of MoAD’s literary programming, has adapted to virtual platforms, fostering international connections and garnering a diverse audience.

MoAD, founded in 2005, remains dedicated to celebrating Black cultures and promoting challenging conversations through the lens of the African Diaspora. As a cornerstone of the San Francisco Bay Area’s cultural scene, MoAD continues to inspire learning and appreciation for Black art.

For further details about MoAD and the upcoming African Literary Award Ceremony, visit MoAD’s official website



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