The Nigerian writer Roy Udeh-Ubaka wins the 2022 Gerald Kraak Award for his short story “Until it Doesn’t”, a dazzling, time-shifting, and soulful gem about the love affair of two young men as they transition from childhood to adulthood. The judges described the story as “brave fiction that tweaks the possibilities of the short story form.”
Roy was named winner at a ceremony in Capetown. He received a $2000 cash award and a plaque. The runner-up prize of $500 went to fellow Nigerian author Ukamaka Olisakwe, for poem titled “Slut” and short story titled “The Grasscutters Curse.” Ten other finalists received $200 each.
The Gerald Kraak Prize was launched in 2016 in honor of anti-apartheid activist and social justice champion Gerald Kraak (1956–2014). The 2022 edition received over 200 entries from 20 African countries, showcasing “the most provocative works of fiction, poetry, journalism, photography and academic writing on the African continent.”
For the first time, the finalists worked with mentors and outstanding authors in their own right, Shaun de Waal, Makhosazana Xaba, and Sandile Ngidi. Twelve finalists were selected by a judging panel comprised of Ellah Pedzisai Wakatama (Kenya), Mark Gevisser (South Africa, pictured) and chaired by Otosirieze Obi-Young (Nigeria).
Congratulations to Udeh-Ubaka and Olisakwe!
Born in Enugu, Nigeria, Roy Udeh-Ubaka taught himself to write in adulthood. His first published short story “A Certain Kind of Longing” in Bakwa Magazine drew critical buzz on the African literary space solidifying Roy as a writer to watch out for. He was selected to attend the 2018 Purple Hibiscus Trust Creative Writing Workshop, thereafter featured in McSweeneys 56 and spotlighted in Electric Literature as one of the “New Voices of Nigerian Fiction” in a feature introduced by Adichie. A two-time finalist for the Awele Creative Trust Award, he is finishing an MFA in Fiction at the University of Florida.
Ukamaka Olisakwe grew up in Kano, Nigeria, and now lives in Vermont. Most recently, she authored the celebrated novel Ogadinma, which won the SpriNG Women Authors Prize, and founded the literary Magazine Isele, which was profiled by the New York Times as “shaping the African literary scene.” In 2014, she was named one of the continent’s most promising writers under the age of 40 by the UNESCO World Book Capital for the Africa39 project. In 2016, she was awarded an honorary fellowship in Writing from the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. In 2018, she won the Vermont College of Fine Arts’ Emerging Writer Scholarship for the MFA in Writing and Publishing program. A finalist for the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship, has had her works appear in the New York Times, Longreads, The Rumpus, Catapult, Rattle, Waxwing, Jalada, Brittle Paper, Hunger Moutain, Sampsonia Way, and more.