We are happy to announce that the 2020 Book Prize committee has selected Jumoke Verissimo’s A Small Silence (Cassava Republic, 2019) as the winner of the Aidoo-Snyder Prize for best original creative work. A Small Silence is impressive for several reasons: its moving portrait of post-traumatic stress disorder, its believable point of view, its connections to real-world problems, its engaging depictions of everyday life, its lyrical style, and its sense of humor. A Small Silence explores the brutal treatment of Nigerian prisoners and the long drawn out and debilitating trauma that incarceration produces.
Jumoke Verissimo was born and grew up in Lagos, Nigeria. She writes poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. She is the author of A Small Silence (UK, 2019), a novel which was shortlisted for the Ondaatje Prize 2020. She has published in magazines like Chimurenga, Ake Review, Kwani, Eclectica, Litro Magazine, A Woman’s Thing, Lithub amongst others. Jumoke also writes poetry. She has published two poetry collections and a chapbook. Her first poetry collection, I am memory (Lagos, 2008) received the first prize for the AWF/Carlos Idzia Ahmad Prize for a first book of Poetry. Her second collection, The Birth of Illusion (Lagos, 2015) was nominated for the Nigeria Prize for Literature in 2017 and her chapbook, Epiphanies (2015) was published by Saraba Magazine. Verissimo’s writing explores trauma of everyday life and its intersection with gender as it relates to love, loss, and hope. She is completing her PhD in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta.
The Committee also recognizes Peace Adzo Medie’s His Only Wife (Algonquin Books, 2020), as the 2020 First Runner Up and Gabeba Baderoon’s The History of Intimacy (Kwela Books, 2018), as the 2020 Second Runner Up.