Nigeria’s Ani Kayode Somtochukwu wins the James Currey Prize for African Literature

Nigeria’s Ani Kayode Somtochukwu’s “And Then He Sang a Lullaby” has won the James Currey Prize for African Literature.

With his work, “And Then He Sang a Lullaby,” Nigerian writer and poet Ani Kayode Somtochukwu has won the inaugural James Currey Prize for African Literature.

Ani Kayode Somtochukwu

The jury’s chair, Sarah Inyal Lawal, crowned the queer liberation campaigner as the winner during a virtual event, describing the text as “breathtaking.”

The longlist for the award was unveiled on June 16, followed by the shortlist on July 1, which included Ani Kayode and four other authors.

Onyeka Nwelue, a filmmaker, writer, and publisher who is also an Academic Visitor at the University of Oxford’s African Studies Centre, launched the James Currey Prize in 2020. Onyeka claims that: “The pivot for the James Currey Prize for African Literature, that we instituted in 2020, for the first unpublished full-length work of fiction intends to perpetuate the value of the African Writers Series and other such initiatives in contemporary African literature exposure, and distribution.”

Ani’s writing focuses on queer identity and emancipation. To mention a few publications, his work has appeared in The Rustin Times, The Enkare Review, PlenitudeMagazine, Gertrude, and Bakwa.

Ani has been nominated for the Toyin Falola Prize, the ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award, and the Erbacce Poetry Prize in the past. The Initiative for Equal Rights (TIERs) awarded him the SOGIESC Rights Activist of the Year award (2019), and he made it to the finals of the 2020 Prize for Difference and Diversity.

Ani, who will get £1,000 for winning the James Currey Prize this year, deserves our congratulations.