Nigerian writer Arinze Ifeakandu has been awarded one of the world’s largest literary prizes for young writers – the Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize – for his ‘exhilarating’ debut God’s Children Are Little Broken Things, a stunning short fiction collection, whose nine stories simmer with loneliness and love, and depict what it means to be gay in contemporary Nigeria.
Described as ‘gorgeous…full of subtlety, wisdom and heart’ by Sarah Waters, ‘quietly transgressive’ by Damon Galgut and awarded the 2022 Republic of Consciousness Prize, God’s Children Are Little Broken Things has established twenty-eight-year-old Ifeakandu as a vital new voice in literary fiction.
Ifeakandu was awarded the prestigious £20,000 Prize for God’s Children Are Little Broken Things (Orion, Weidenfeld & Nicolson) at a ceremony held in Swansea on Thursday 11 May, prior to International Dylan Thomas Day on Sunday 14 May, with November 2023 marking seventy years since the Welsh poet’s death.
Chair of Judges, Di Speirs, said:
‘We were unanimous in our praise and admiration for this exhilarating collection of nine stories. Arinze Ifeakandu’s debut shines with maturity, the writing bold, refreshing and exacting but never afraid to linger and to allow characters and situations to develop and change, so that the longer stories are almost novels in themselves. A kaleidoscopic reflection of queer life and love in Nigeria, the constraints, the dangers and the humanity, this is a collection that we wanted to press into many readers’ hands around the world and which left us excited to know what Arinze Ifeakandu will write next.’
Awarded for the best published literary work in the English language, written by an author aged 39 or under, the Prize celebrates the international world of fiction in all its forms including poetry, novels, short stories, and drama.
The other titles shortlisted for the 2023 Prize were: Limberlost by Robbie Arnott (Atlantic Books), Seven Steeples by Sara Baume (Tramp Press), I’m a Fan by Sheena Patel (Rough Trade Books/Granta), Send Nudes by Saba Sams (Bloomsbury Publishing), and Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head by Warsan Shire (Chatto & Windus, Vintage).
Arinze Ifeakandu joins an illustrious list of writers to have been awarded this prestigious Prize, including Raven Leilani, Bryan Washington, Guy Gunaratne, Kayo Chingonyi, Fiona McFarlane and Max Porter.
The paperback of God’s Children Are Little Broken Things will be published on 25 May.