Irenosen Okojie wins a Betty Trask Award for her debut Butterfly Fish

Published: 23 June 2016 | by Jacaranda Books
Irenosen Okojie wins a Betty Trask Award for her debut Butterfly Fish
Irenosen Okojie has won a Betty Trask Award of £5000 for her debut novel, Butterfly Fish, the Society of Authors announced yesterday at a special awards ceremony.

The young writer was one of three to win the award, granted to young authors of “outstanding literary merit”, while fellow debut novelist Alex Christofi won the Betty Trask Prize for his debut Glass.

The judges were full of praise for Irenosen’s novel, which follows the story of a young woman, Joy, coming to terms with the sudden death of her mother, and who inherits an ancient artefact leading back to 19th Century Benin, revealing long buried family secrets.

Judge Michèle Roberts said of the novel, "A bittersweet story uniting different traditions of narrative to create a whole new geography of the imagination."

Fellow judge, author Joanne Harris, felt that Butterfly Fish was, “a wonderful, richly drawn novel, cleverly juxtaposing scenes from everyday London with African folklore and mysticism."

Crime author Simon Brett OBE, also judging the award, commented "A stunningly well written book, juggling different timescales with great skill. Benin itself is vividly imagined in a historical narrative that runs in parallel with the contemporary London one. It is a wonderful novel.”

Butterfly Fish is available in hardback and newly released in paperback this month. It will be followed by Irenosen’s short story collection Speak Gigantular in September 2016.

Irenosen will be appearing at the Finchley Literary Festival this weekend, followed by the Edinburgh Literary Festival in August, and the Henley Literary Festival in October.

- Jacaranda Books

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