Kanyinsola Olorunnisola, a Nigerian multi-genre writer, has won the 2020 K & L prize with his story, ‘Abija, the Architect of Mayhem.’
The K & L Prize is a short fiction prizeworth $1,000 awarded for unpublished fiction by Africans/African residents (aged 18-25) in a given year, usually based on a selected theme. It was founded in 2018 by the New-Zealand based Nigerian writer, Myles Ojabo. Each year, an anthology is also produced from selected entries to the competition, usually the longlisted stories.
The theme of the 2020 prize was ‘Africanfuturism’ and was judged by the academic Chigbo Arthur Anyaduba and the dramatist Dione Joseph. An initial longlist, featuring writers from Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Ghana and Cameroon was released earlier in the year. A shortlist of four was released last month featuring Audrey Obuobisa-Darko (Ghana), for her story, ‘Araba’; Kanyisola Olorunnisola (Nigeria), for his story, ‘Abija, the Architect of Mayhem’; Izuchukwu Udokwu (Nigeria), for his story, ‘The New Colours’; Yvonne Nezianya (Nigeria), for her story, ‘The Wonders of Spirits.’
The judges were impressed with most of the entries and gave their thoughts on them. Chigbo Arthur Anyaduba noted that the entries had “remarkable depth of imagination, mellifluous narrative, the stories stay with you long after you move on with your life.” On her part, Dione Joseph said she enjoyed reading the stories which showed depth and a foundation from ancestral knowledge with projections to the future. In her words: “The stories demonstrate an exercise in developing one’s own voice, shifting from description to dialogue and reaching into our ancestral knowledge to look into the future.”
All longlisted stories including this year’s winning story, Abija, the Architect of Mayhem, are in the anthology Black Skin, No Mask and can be acquired via amazon.
Kanyinsola Olorunnisola is an experimental poet, essayist, and writer of fiction. His work has appeared in Popula, Gertrude, Bakwa, The Account, Bodega, Kalahari Review, Brittle Paper, and elsewhere. He is the founder of SprinNG, a literary platform for amplifying the voices of young writers, as well as Nation of Mad Men, a social justice project. He is the recipient of the 2016 Albert Jungers Poetry Prize and the 2017 Fisayo Soyombo National Essay Prize. He was shortlisted for the 2019 Koffi Addo Prize for Creative Non-Fiction. He has published a chapbook: “In My Country, We’re All Crossdressers” (Praxis, 2018). He is currently working on a full-length poetry collection and a fantasy novel. He writes from Lagos, Nigeria.