Gloria Mwaniga Odary

Gloria Mwaniga Odary wins Georgia Review Prose Prize 2024.

Gloria Mwaniga Odary’s short story Henna is Just Roots was declared the winner of the Georgia Review Prose Prize 2024 on Tuesday, April 2, 2024.

The Georgia Review is a literary journal based in Athens, Georgia, in the United States that features poetry, fiction, essays, book reviews, and visual art founded at the University of Georgia in 1947. The Georgia Review Prose Prize is given for the best short story and essay submitted in the year.

This year, the prize was judged by Danielle Evans the author of the story collections The Office of Historical Corrections and Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self. Her first collection won the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize, the Hurston/Wright Award for Fiction, and the Paterson Prize for fiction; her second won the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize and was a finalist for the Aspen Prize, the Story Prize, the Chautauqua Prize, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for fiction.

The American announced that the winner this year is Gloria Mwaniga Odary’s short story Henna is Just Roots. Of Odary’s fiction, Evans wrote: “Henna is Just Roots is gorgeous and haunting work, both a vibrant, giddy encapsulation of girlhood and childhood friendship and an account of atrocity and the trauma it leaves in its wake. The author’s accomplished sense of what to leave off of the page underscores what has been lost and how difficult it is to look directly at it, giving its characters what grace it can without losing sight of the weight of its subject matter.”

Gloria Mwaniga Odary tweeted in response, “Absolutely thrilled to have won the Georgia Review Prose Prize @GeorgiaReview. This win means so much because the short story is a form I’m obsessed with, and because Danielle Evans is a writer I deeply, deeply admire. I can’t wait for y’all to read Henna Is Just Roots.

The Kenyan who is currently pursuing an MFA in creative writing at the University of Memphis has won the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship and the African Land Policy Centre Story Prize, and she was longlisted for the 2024 Isele Nonfiction Prize and the 2023 Commonwealth Short Story Prize. She receives the $1,500 cash prize and her work will be published in the Georgia Review.

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