Nudibranch, Irenosen Okojie


Winner of the 2020 AKO Caine Prize for African Writing for the short story ‘Grace Jones’ contained in this volume.

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Nigerian-British writer Irenosen Okojie has been awarded the 2020 AKO Caine Prize for African Writing for her short story ‘Grace Jones’, from Nudibranch, published by Dialogue Books(2019). The Chair of the AKO Caine Prize judging panel, director of The Africa Centre, Kenneth Olumuyiwa Tharp CBE, announced the winner of the £10,000 prize in a film released on Monday 27 July.

This year in light of the coronavirus pandemic and continuing government restrictions, the AKO Caine Prize commissioned British-Nigerian filmmaker Joseph A. Adesunloye to direct and produce a documentary film to celebrate the shortlist and announce the winner.

‘Grace Jones’ tells the story of Sidra, a woman whose life is consumed with guilt. In a devastating tragedy, thirteen-year-old Sidra loses her entire family to a fire that destroys their flat. Years later, Sidra finds herself working as an impersonator of the famous Jamaican singer, model and actress Grace Jones. In this heart-wrenching account of loss, fractured identity and bereavement, Okojie deftly layers the psychological trauma of the daily experience of a Black woman in contemporary British society and of the specific tragedy that befalls Sidra. Announcing the award, Kenneth Olumuyiwa Tharp said: “This year’s winner of the AKO Caine Prize for African Writing is a radical story that plays with logic, time and place; it defies convention, as it unfolds a narrative that is multi-layered and multi-dimensional. It is risky, dazzling, imaginative and bold; it is intense and full of stunning prose; it’s also a story that reflects African consciousness in the way it so seamlessly shifts dimensions, and it’s a story that demonstrates extraordinary imagination. Most of all, it is world-class fiction from an African writer.

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