Eloghosa Osunde’s novel Vagabonds! won the Museum of African Diaspora’s African Literary Award 2023 on Monday, November 20, 2023.
The Museum of the African Diaspora is a contemporary art museum in San Francisco, California. One of only a few museums of its kind in the USA, they hold exhibitions and present artists exclusively of the African diaspora. In 2022, they unveiled an African Literary Award recognising an African author who has produced a work of literary excellence that expands global understanding of African lives and storytelling. It is granted to an author whose book has been read by the museum’s African Book Club. The winner of the inaugural award was Rémy Ngamije for his debut novel The Eternal Audience of One.
The finalists for 2023 were Meron Hadero for A Down Home Meal for These Difficult Times (2022), Arinze Ifeakandu for God’s Children Are LiJle Broken Things (2022), and Noor Naga for If an Egyptian Cannot Speak English (2022). That announcement was made on November 11.
The winner for 2023 was revealed to be Eloghosa Osunde’s novel Vagabonds! on Monday. It was published in 2022 by Riverhead Books (US), Fourth Estate (UK), and Farafina Books (NG).
The jury called it a “brave, fiercely inventive novel that traces a wild array of characters – “vagabonds” whose existence is literally outlawed: the queer, the poor, the displaced, the footloose and rogue spirits who inhabit transient spaces and alternative realities and for whom life itself is a form of resistance.”
Osunde will be honored at a virtual Award Ceremony on Sunday, December 3rd. The program will include a live reading and conversation to be moderated by African Book Club co-founder Faith Adiele.