Ghanaian Derek Owusu Wins GHS 72K Desmond Elliott Literary Prize

An announcement of Derek Owusu's win

The National Centre for Writing, which is based in the United Kingdom, has announced that Ghanaian Derek Owusu’s novel, “That Reminds Me” is the winner of the Desmond Elliott Prize 2020.

The novel-in-verse, praised by judges as a ‘transcendent work of literature’, is chosen as the best debut novel across the UK and Ireland this year from a strong shortlist including The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré and The Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney by Okechukwu Nzelu.

In addition to the GHS 72,000 (£10,000) prize money, Owusu will receive a tailored year-round platform of support and mentorship from the NCW, which is running the Desmond Elliott Prize for the first time this year as part of its new Early Career Awards portfolio.

Owusu’s “That Reminds Me” tells the story of one young man, from birth to adulthood, told in fragments of memory.

It explores questions of identity, belonging, addiction, sexuality, violence, family and religion.

It is a deeply moving and completely original work of literature from one of the brightest British writers of today.

The Desmond Elliott Prize is recognised as the most prestigious award for debut novelists. It supports early-career novelists to establish their writing careers.

The prize was set up to continue the work of renowned UK based agent and publisher, Desmond Elliott.


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