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OluTimehin Adegbeye wins Gerald Kraak Prize


The Jacana Literary Foundation, in partnership with the Other Foundation, has unveiled OluTimehin Adegbeye as the 2019 winner of the Gerald Kraak Prize.

Adegbeye’s essay, Mothers and Men, made her winner. Commendations were also made to Chisom Okafor for his poem, On My Coming Out, and to Chukwuebuka Ibeh for his short story, The Sickness of Longing.

Adegbeye, from Nigeria, is the third recipient of the prize, which was first launched in 2016 in honour of passionate champion for social justice and anti-apartheid activist Gerald Kraak. The announcement was made at the prestigious launch of The Heart of the Matter, the third volume of the Gerald Kraak Anthology, following the 2018 volume, As You Like It.

This year’s judging panel included head judge, Sisonke Msimang; writer, story teller and author of Always Another Country, Mark Gevisser; one of South Africa’s leading authors and journalists, Professor Sylvia Tamale; a leading African feminist who teaches law at Makerere University in Uganda, and Otosirieze Obi-Young; writer, literary journalist and deputy editor of Brittle Paper.


The judges noted the overall quantity and quality of the poetry entry this year. “We are pleased that in the category of poetry, On My Coming Out, by Chisom Okafor was our selection.” ‘On My Coming Out’, previously published in the Kikwetu Journal, is an affecting and elegantly written poem that speaks to desire, tradition and the enduring power – of familial love.

The judges were taken by the subtlety of the submission of Chukwuebuka Ibeh. ‘A Sickness Called Longing’ is a haunting and subtle story about loneliness, vulnerability, masculinity and ageing,

The Heart of the Matter is a collection of the 21 shortlisted entries from over 400 submissions received from South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe, and 6 other African countries. It showcases some of the most provocative works of fiction, poetry and non-fiction. These stories capture the essence of the African LGBTQI+ community and showcase some of Africa’s most talented writers. The anthology gives a voice to those who would otherwise be marginalised and it insists that differences must be recognised, embraced and celebrated.

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