The Paris Review has awarded Eloghosa Osunde the 2021 Plimpton Prize for Fiction, a $10,000 award celebrating an outstanding story by an emerging writer published in the magazine, for her story “Good Boy.” Osunde joins past winners Ottessa Moshfegh, Yiyun Li, and Atticus Lish as a recipient of the prize.
Carl Phillips, a member of The Paris Review’s Editorial Committee, cited among the story’s strengths its “vulnerability and its honest handling of joy—celebrating joy without ignoring the complicated psychology that, for so many of us, getting to joy has required.”
As soon as I knew what the Plimpton Prize was, I wanted it. As soon as that was clear to me, I wrote it down in my journal where I make these things plain without shame, then left it alone. This story was a breakthrough for me, because it was the first to come through after VAGABONDS!—my debut work of fiction, which relocated me to a place where imagination meets courage. It means so much to me that a story I wrote from a true place, an empowered place, with a protagonist like the one who powers this story—Nigerian, queer, beautiful, troublesome, stubborn, fearless, flawed, loved, loved, loved—gets to meet many more readers. I hope this opportunity means “Good Boy” will get to continue as it has done since the beginning of its life; that it keeps moving readers to envision new ways to be and belong, whatever that might look like for them. Thank you to the judges for this honor; to Emily and Hasan, the incredible editors who worked with me to shape this story; and to the people who make up my heart, my family, my life, because my imagination is always made larger and richer by their love.
Read Osunde’s winning story here—and keep an eye out for Osunde’s first novel, VAGABONDS!, which will be published by Riverhead in 2022.
The Paris Review also awarded the 2021 Hadada Award, presented each year to a “distinguished member of the writing community who has made a strong and unique contribution to literature,” to N. Scott Momaday, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, playwright, essayist, and educator. You can read the full citation here.