Nigerian novelists Oyinkan Braithwaite & Diana Evans are shortlisted for Women's Prize for Fiction

This is the first time two Africans have been named finalists at the same time.

Diana Evans & Oyinkan Braithwaite are among the six finalists for the 2019 Women's Prize for Fiction (Photo: The New York Times)

The shortlist for 2019 Women's Prize For Fiction has been announced.

It features six authors including two Nigerians - Oyinkan Braithwaite and Diana Evans.

Award-winning writer Anna Burns, Pat Barker, previous winner Madeline Miller and Tayari Jones complete the shortlist. 

The chair of the judges Kate Williams described the lineup as “fiction at its best – brilliant, courageous and utterly captivating … We fell totally in love with these books and the amazing worlds they created.”

Braithwaite is nominated for her darkly comic sibling story "My Sister, the Serial Killer."

This crime thriller, set in Lagos state, has a Nigerian woman whose younger sister has a very inconvenient habit of killing her boyfriends.

The New York Times describes it as a "Pulpy, peppery and sinister, served up in a comic deadpan…" The review adds, "This scorpion-tailed little thriller leaves a response, and a sting, you will remember."

Evans, a British author of Nigerian and English descent, is chosen for her third novel - "Ordinary People."

"Set in London to an exhilarating soundtrack, Ordinary People is an intimate study of identity and parenthood, sex and grief, friendship and ageing, and the fragile architecture of love," Penguin Books writes.

Reportedly, this is the first time the shortlist has had more than one African at the same time.  

About Women's Prize for Fiction

After receiving 163 entries, the judges managed to reduce it to a long list of 16 books.

Oyinkan Braithwaite, Diana Evans and Akwaeke Emezi all made the cut back in March 2019. Emezi was nominated for "Freshwater."

She is the first non-binary transgender author to be nominated for this prize.

The prestigious prize, formerly known as the Orange Prize for Fiction, has nominated a couple of African writers since it was founded in 1996.

Africans that have been featured on the shortlist include Nigerian authors -  Ayobami Adebayo in 2017 and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in 2004, 2007 and 2014. The latter won in 2007 for "Half of a Yellow Sun."

Sierra Leonean-Scottish novelist, Aminatta Forna and Ghanaian-Canadian writer, Esi Edugyan, have also made the list.

Winning the Women's Prize for Fiction is considered a big deal, one that offers a significant career boost as well as a £30,000 ($40,000) prize.

The winner will be announced on June 5, 2019.

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