Emmanuel Iduma

In elegant, meditative vignettes that integrate art criticism, canny observation, and lyrical dispatches, Emmanuel Iduma invites readers to physically and spiritually observe the expansiveness of the world and its people.

Emmanuel Iduma is a Nigerian writer, editor, and photographer. The co-founder of Saraba (2009-2019), a non-profit literary magazine dedicated to publishing emerging writers in Nigeria and other parts of Africa, Iduma is also the author of two books, the novel The Sound of Things to Come (2016) and the nonfiction work A Stranger’s Pose (2018). A Stranger’s Pose blends several genres—memoir, photo essay, and travelogue—to evoke the rhythm of Iduma’s wanderings around the African continent. We follow him from Rabat to Yaoundé to Addis Ababa and back again. With each section, the book provokes and resists expectations of linearity, moving forward only to loop back, leaping ahead only to pause and linger. Again and again, Iduma draws our attention to what is absent, or odd, or unfamiliar. He considers photographs of dead relatives, drafts of unsent emails; he observes, with great care, how people walk, what they wear, and how they talk. Like Emerson’s “transparent eye-ball,” Iduma achieves a kind of unselving; nothing, he discovers, is too small or too strange for his notice. “The gift I received,” he writes, “was the freedom to come to terms with my own estrangement.” His essays and art criticism have been published in Granta, the New York Review of Books, Aperture, n+1, and Artforum, among other places. I Am Still With You, his memoir on the aftermath of the Nigerian civil war, is forthcoming from Algonquin (US), and William Collins (UK) in March 2023.

It was a stunner, and still is, to be informed of the award of a prize of such magnitude and preeminence, to be listed alongside many writers I look up to. I am filled with gratitude to the Beinecke Library and remain keen with hope for the paths now made possible for me to tread. EMMANUEL IDUMA