We are delighted to announce the winner of the 2022 Toyin Falola Prize, which received an overwhelming response from African writers. After careful consideration, the judges have selected Abdulrahim Hussani as the winner of the 2022 Toyin Falola Prize for his outstanding piece titled “Arewa Boys”. Hussani’s story is thought-provoking, insightful, and beautifully crafted, leaving a lasting impression on all of us, including the judges.
Fayssal Bensalah, one of the judges for the prize, notes: “A moving story. ‘Arewa Boys’ is masterfully paced, executed in a hypnotic and seamless prose. The writer provokes sadness, but then unexpectedly replaces it with patience and steadfastness. It’s about the pain of national mobility and naïve ambitions. It’s about an alienation felt within the borders of one’s country. It’s about beautiful creatures who do not ask for attention, who persevere quietly and remain patient in the face of eccentricity and realism. Arewa Boys—eccentric yet ambitious, in pain yet steadfast. It is reminiscent of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s ‘You in America.’ “
At LUNARIS, we extend our warmest congratulations to Abdulrahim Hussani on this remarkable achievement. Also, we like to thank all the participants for their efforts and enthusiasm and wish them success in their writing journey.
We are pleased to announce the shortlist for the 2022 Toyin Falola Prize. As always, we are thrilled by the aesthetics of the narratives we received for the prize. In no particular order, these are the short stories that have made the shortlist:
- “Arewa Boys” – Abdulrahim Hussani
- “Bury My Body” – Ani Kayode Somtochukwu
- “Salem” – Alex Kadiri
- “TriniBoys” – Daniel Ogba
- “Truthing Through” – Babalola Joseph
This year, de/familiarization cuts across the heart of the narratives: Abdulrahim Hussani’s “Arewa” takes us through the discolored hues of the narrator’s expectations and eventual reality. We love it for the vivacity of the collective experiences it narrates and the relatability that permeates its lean and clean prose. However, Ani Kayode’s “Bury my body” reminds us of the power of quiet narratives and its ability to carry the reader along its tides of subtle but fierce emotions. Alex Kadiri’s “Salem” has been praised for taking us through the reality of what it means to be human and its complexity. “Salem” tenders a painful experience that reminds us of our humanity with heart and grit and a style that doesn’t undermine both. Daniel Ogba’s “Triniboys” is almost familiar that we do not recognize it, and for this the story deserves praise. The characters that we encounter come alive in ways that show a keen observation of the highs and lows of high school life and the intimate complexities that often need a patient translation. Also, Babalola Joseph’s “Truthing Through” surprises one with its ability to bend an almost everyday reality into the narrative of an enigmatic character. Its sentences are carefully crafted, its characters are developed in ways that manage to turn pedestrian conditions into pockets of humor and contemplation. Its entire plot is the substance of a satisfying irony.
Cheers to the shortlisted writers!
Earlier this year, we announced the call for submissions for the 2022 Toyin Falola Prize on the theme of “Freedom”: “We are interested in the several possibilities that can come out of attempting to narratively understand freedom, tests its limits, its bounds.” And as expected, we’re not disappointed, both by the quality and quantity of entries received.
“The stories are dauntless. Their writers are clearly observant and actively and personally concerned with the issues of their societies. The stories prove that Africa’s passion for telling stories remains wild, salient, and always growing. It’s a flame that’s constantly being fueled by many new writers who truly care about the present and future of their continent. The submitted stories speak loudly for this as they diagnose futuristic concerns and tackle continental themes. What’s interesting is that the stories are hopeful and optimistic. They shift away from the negative representations of Africa and focus on her beauty instead. They also try to imagine a ‘futuristic Africa’ and assert that the continent has all the resources to make it happen.” Fayssal Bensalah, Judge, 2022 Toyin Falola Prize
Congratulation to the writers on the longlist.