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Nigerian Writer Arinze Ifeakandu Wins £20,000 Dylan Thomas Prize

Arinze Ifeakandu, a 28-year-old Nigerian writer, has won the 2023 Dylan Thomas Prize, one of the world's largest literary prizes for young writers. He was awarded £20,000 for his short fiction collection God’s Children Are Little Broken Things, which depicts what it means to be gay in contemporary Nigeria.

The prize, which celebrates the best published literary work in the English language by an author aged 39 or under, was announced at a ceremony in Swansea on Thursday 11 May. The judges praised Ifeakandu's debut as an "exhilarating collection of nine stories" that "shines with maturity, the writing bold, refreshing and exacting but never afraid to linger and to allow characters and situations to develop and change".

God’s Children Are Little Broken Things explores the themes of queer love, family and loneliness in a society that is often hostile and oppressive. The stories range from the title story, which narrates the romance of two college boys whose relationship faces external and internal threats, to "The Dream Chasers", which follows a group of friends who escape their realities through drugs and sex. The collection has been described as "gorgeous…full of subtlety, wisdom and heart" by Sarah Waters, "quietly transgressive" by Damon Galgut and "a kaleidoscopic reflection of queer life and love in Nigeria" by Di Speirs, the chair of judges.

Ifeakandu was born in Kano, Nigeria, and is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop. He was a finalist for the AKO Caine Prize for African Writing in 2017 and a fellow of A Public Space in 2018. His work has appeared in various publications, including A Public Space, One Story and Guernica. God’s Children Are Little Broken Things is his first book and has also won the 2022 Republic of Consciousness Prize for the US and Canada and the Story Prize Spotlight Award.

Ifeakandu joins an illustrious list of writers who have won the Dylan Thomas Prize, which was launched in 2006 in honour of the esteemed Welsh poet who died at the age of 39. Previous winners include Patricia Lockwood, Raven Leilani, Bryan Washington, Guy Gunaratne, Kayo Chingonyi, Fiona McFarlane and Max Porter.

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Nigerian Writer Arinze Ifeakandu Wins £20,000 Dylan Thomas Prize

April 29, 2023

Fredrick Favour

2 min read

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