Naga goes home with the $15,000 cash prize.
American-born writer, Noor Naga, has recently emerged the winner of the 2022 edition of the Centre for Fiction First Novel Prize for her debut novel, If an Egyptian Cannot Speak English.
Naga wins the prize from the shortlist of seven writers including Daphne Palasi Andreades (Brown Girls), Jessamine Chan (The School for Good Mothers), Isabel Kaplan (NSFW), Alyssa Songsiridej (Little Rabbit), Mecca Jamilah Sullivan (Big Girl), and Vauhini Vara (The Immortal King Rao).
Naga’s If an Egyptian Cannot Speak English explores a love affair between an American and Egyptian, and shows what it means when love is stifled by the barrier of language.
The novel, published by Graywolf Press, was released in April 2022.
The Centre for Fiction tweeted, following the announcement, saying, “We are delighted to announce that the winner of our 2022 First Novel Prize is Noor Naga, author of If an Egyptian Cannot Speak English (Graywolf Press)! Congratulations!”
First awarded in 2006, The Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize, administered by The Center for Fiction, is an annual award that honours the best debut novel published in the US.
African authors that have previously been shortlisted for the prize are Maaza Mengiste (2010), Taiye Selasi (2013), Chigozie Obioma (2015), Yaa Gyasi (2016), and Akwaeke Emezi (2018).
Naga’s If an Egyptian Cannot Speak English is included in the Afrocritik Top 25 African Novels of 2022. View full list here.