The 2021 winners of the African Speculative Fiction Society’s Nommo Awards were announced today in a ceremony held at DisCon III.
- Akwaeke Emezi — The Death Of Vivek Oji
- Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki — Ife-Ikyoku: The Tale Of Imadeyunuagbon
- Innocent Chizaram Ilo — Rat And Finch Are Friends
- Tlotlo Tsamaase — Behind Our Irises
- Moongirls — Nana Akosua Hanson (writer) AnimaxFYB Studios (art) – Ghana Drama Queens Collective
The event was hosted by DisCon’s Special Guest, Sheree Renée Thomas. She announced this year’s Ilube Nommo Award for best novel, which went to The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi.
In her opening speech, Sheree Renée Thomas said, “As newer audiences embrace storytelling from around the world, there is an excitement and openness to exploring rich tales that speak to the diverse cultural heritage that is born from not only Africa’s broad and diverse diaspora, but from the continent of Africa itself.”
Nana Akosua made an impassioned speech on behalf of the Drama Queens collective, “This year has been a particularly hard year for the Ghanaian Queer and Trans community. But I’d like to use this platform to say Hate will never win. All of the struggle will be worth it.”
In accepting her award for best short story. Tlotlo Tsmaase thanked the African online magazine Brittle Paper and the editor of its Africanfuturism anthology, Wole Talabi. Innocent Chizaram Ilo thanked his editors at Strange Horizons.
For Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki, the Nommo Awards are “…about self acceptance really, or acceptance from your own. One of the core purposes of awards is providing recognition or validation to writers at certain points in their careers. But writers from certain backgrounds, demographics, regions are unable to participate as fully in international activities and awards as much as they would need to due to financial barriers, economic, cultural, social and other such constraints. Now that’s where bodies like the Nommo step in.”
The other presenters were authors Suyi Davies Okungbowa and Tochi Onyebuchi, each a winner of a previous Nommo for best novel and Iquo Diana Abasi, editor of the African SFF magazine Omenana. The announcements were followed by readings from the winning works.
The African Speculative Fiction Society, composed of professional and semiprofessional African writers, editors, publishers, graphic artists and film makers, was founded in 2016.
The Nommos were presented for the first time in 2017. The awards are named for twins from Dogon cosmology who take a variety of forms, including appearing on land as fish, walking on their tails.
[Includes quotes from a DisCon III press release.]