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Non-binary trans author up for Women’s Prize for Fiction

Non-binary trans author up for Women’s Prize for Fiction

Akwaeke Emezi (Photo: Facebook)

The Women’s Prize for Fiction has for the first time in its 27-year history nominated a non-binary author for the annual award.

Akwaeke Emezi is a 31-year-old author born in Nigeria but currently living in New York.

Emezi’s debut autobiographical novel Freshwater joins 15 other books on this year’s long list.

They published Freshwater last year to rave reviews. It tells the story of Ada, a young woman in Nigeria who is haunted by different spirits.

Chair of the judges Professor Kate Williams told the Guardian Emezi’s nomination was a ‘historic moment’.

‘Fiction, right from the beginning of the novel in the 18th century, has been there to explore identity’ Williams also said.

The competition will announce the shortlist on 29 April. And, judges will reveal the winner on 5 June.

Akwaeke Emezi

Emezi is a writer and video artist. They are ethnic Igbo and Tamil. They were born in Umuahia and raised in Aba, Nigeria

In 2017 Emezi won the Commonwealth short story prize for Who Is Like God?

Then, the Global Arts Fund awarded Emezi a grant in 2017 for the video art in their project The Unblinding.

Writing in The Cut, they explained that they had their uterus removed five years after realizing they were transgender.

‘While my gender had asserted itself in different ways since my childhood, one of its strongest features was always a violent aversion toward reproduction, toward having a body that was marked by its reproductive potential’ they wrote.

After chest surgery, Emezi said they weren’t sure what they were planning to transition to.

‘But I was clear that the gender I’d been raised as was inaccurate — I’d never been a woman’ they wrote.
Emezi is currently making video art and working on their fourth and fifth novels, according to their website.

See also

First US non-binary passport to be issued, federal court rules

British Airways to introduce non-binary gender option for passengers

30 queer female and non-binary artists you should be supporting