Out of 247 eligible submissions, Adjei-Brenyah (Friday Black) and Jennifer Croft (Homesick: A Memoir) were selected as winners for their ability to evoke raw emotion and masterfully leverage the power of language with their writing. The two authors will receive a cash prize of $5,000 each.
The Prize, which is a biennial competition for newly-published books, commemorates the life, legacy and intentions of William Saroyan – author, artist, dramatist, composer – and is intended to encourage new or emerging writers, rather than to recognize established literary figures.
About Friday Black
Friday Black is Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah’s debut book. The book, released in 2018 and a New York Times Bestseller, is a collection of 12 short stories which tackle urgent instances of racism and cultural unrest and explore the many ways we fight for humanity in an unforgiving world. Adjei-Brenyah also reveals the violence, injustice, and painful absurdities of life in America.
The introductory story of the book, “Finkelstein 5”, highlights the injustice of the US judicial system and, at the same time, shows the consequences of the everyday experience of racism.
Friday Black has been highly praised by critics and has received several awards, including the PEN-Jean Stein Book Award and the John Leonard Award for the Best First Book.
About Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah was born in Spring Valley, New York, to Ghanaian parents in 1990.
He studied English, Journalism, and Film Studies at the University of Albany, State University of New York, and received his Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Syracuse University, New York, where he currently teaches.
Adjei-Brenyahʼs short stories and essays have appeared in numerous magazines, including the New York Times Book Review, Esquire, Literary Hub, Longreads, The Paris Review, Guernica Magazine, and The Breakwater Review, which awarded him “The Breakwater Review Fiction Prize” in 2017. He has also won the Aspen Words Literary Prize. Adjei-Brenyah was also placed on the National Book Foundationʼs “5 under 35 Authors” list in 2018.
Adjei-Brenyah is also into photography. Most of his photographs are inspired by Ghanaian culture.
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