The 2019 Shortlist
Lesley Nneka Arimah (Nigeria) for ‘Skinned’, published in McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, Issue 53. Lesley Nneka Arimah was born in the UK and grew up in Nigeria and wherever else her father was stationed for work. Her stories have been honored with a National Magazine Award, a Commonwealth Short Story Prize and an O. Henry Award. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, , McSweeney’s, GRANTA and has received support from The Elizabeth George Foundation and MacDowell. She was selected for the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 and her debut collection What it Means When A Man Falls From The Sky won the 2017 Kirkus Prize, the 2017 New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award and was selected for the New York Times/PBS book club among other honors. Arimah is a 2019 United States Artists Fellow in Writing. She lives in Las Vegas and is working on a novel about you.
Meron Hadero (Ethiopia) for ‘The Wall’, published in McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, Issue 52. Meron Hadero is an Ethiopian-American born in Addis Ababa who came to the U.S. as a refugee in her childhood via East and West Germany. Her stories appear in Best American Short Stories, McSweeney’s, Zyzzyva, The Iowa Review, and others. Her writing is also in The New York Times Book Review and the anthology The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives. She has been awarded residencies at Yaddo, Ragdale, and MacDowell, and holds an MFA from the University of Michigan, a JD from Yale Law School (Washington State Bar), and a BA from Princeton in history. Meron is a recipient of a 2019-2020 Steinbeck Fellowship.
Cherrie Kandie (Kenya) for ‘Sew My Mouth’ published in ID Identity: New Short Fiction From Africa. Cherrie Kandie is a Kenyan writer and a senior at college in the United States of America. She also makes short films and enjoys dancing to Lingala (only in her room).
Ngwah-Mbo Nana Nkweti (Cameroon) for ‘It Takes A Village Some Say’, published in The Baffler. Ngwah-Mbo Nana Nkweti is a Cameroonian-American writer and graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She is the recipient of fellowships and residencies from MacDowell, Vermont Studio Center, Ucross, Byrdcliffe, Kimbilio, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Clarion West, Hub City, the Wurlitzer Foundation, and the Stadler Center for Poetry and Literary Arts. Nana’s writing has been published in journals and magazines such as Brittle Paper, New Orleans Review, and The Baffler, amongst others. Her forthcoming short story collection, Like Walking on Cowry Shells, focuses on the lives of hyphenated-Americans who share her multi-cultural heritage in the United States and Africa.
Tochukwu Emmanuel Okafor (Nigeria) for ‘All Our Lives’ published in ID Identity: New Short Fiction From Africa. Tochukwu Emmanuel Okafor is a Nigerian writer whose work has appeared in the 2018 Best of the Net, the 2019 Best Small Fictions, The Guardian, Harvard's Transition Magazine, Columbia Journal, and elsewhere. A 2018 Rhodes Scholar finalist and a 2018 Kathy Fish Fellow, he has won the 2017 Short Story Day Africa Prize for Short Fiction. He has been shortlisted for the 2017 Awele Creative Trust Award, the 2016 Problem House Press Short Story Prize, and the 2016 Southern Pacific Review Short Story Prize. He lives in Pittsburgh, USA, and is at work on a novel and a short story collection.