UoN graduate shortlisted for inaugural Waterstones debut fiction prize


July 21st, 2022

University of Nottingham alumna, Eloghosa Osunde, has been shortlisted for the inaugural Waterstones Debut Fiction Prize for her novel Vagabonds!.

Osunde, a Nigerian writer and visual artist who graduated from the university in 2015, is one of six authors shortlisted for the prize which celebrates debut fiction of all forms and is voted for by Waterstones bookseller.

Vagabonds! paints a portrait of life and death in contemporary Nigeria. Osunde’s bold and beautiful mosaic of a debut novel mixes realism with folklore and mythology with dazzling effect.

The novel’s heroes are the marginalised people of Lagos, whose intersecting lives present a multi-faceted, playful indictment of the country’s capitalism, corruption and oppression. Genre-bending and genre-defining: this novel marks the arrival of a wholly original new voice.

Eloghosa said: “It’s so lovely to be shortlisted for the inaugural Waterstones Debut Fiction Prize! It feels incredible to see my novel continue to go further out in the world, and to be recognised firmly by the prize.

“This being from Waterstones feels especially magical to my younger self, who bought arts supplies, stationery, novels and selected many worlds from the shelves and tables in stores over the years.

“It is truly an honour  to have my work be a part of this award that will go on to build excellent things with debut authors who show promise.

“I’m thankful for every single reader this book has already resonated with, and for every new reader who will get to know it because of this moment.”

Osunde is also alumna of the Farafina Creative Writing Workshop, the Caine Prize Workshop and the filmmaking and screenwriting programmes at New York Film Academy.

Her short stories have been longlisted for the 2017 Writvism Short Prize and published in Catapult, Guernica, Berlin Quarterly and the Paris Review, where she has a column with forthcoming stories in the Georgia Review and Gulf Coast.

She is the winner of the 2021 Paris Review Plimpton Prize for Fiction and is currently based in Abuja, Nigeria.

The winner of the Waterstones Debut Fiction prize will be announced at an evening ceremony on Thursday 25 August and will receive a prize of £5,000, as well as the backing of all Waterstones shops and online stores.

Staff and students can request Vagabonds! on order from Hallward Library.

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