Nommo 2020: Novel Nominations

The Ilube Nommo Award for Best Speculative Fiction Novel by an African



Below are the Short List Nominees in each of the 4 categories and ALL respective nominees for the 2020 Nommo Awards:

Members are given the opportunity to read the following short listed novels online.  If you are a member of the ASFS please fill in the Nommo Reader Request Form (with relevant conditions) and submit. If you are an approved member, we will send through access details.



Masande Ntshanga

Masande Ntshanga is the winner of a Betty Trask Award in 2018, winner of the inaugural PEN International New Voices Award in 2013, and a finalist for the Caine Prize in 2015. He was born in East London, South Africa, and graduated with an MA in Creative Writing from UCT.


A young maths genius who is haunted by the disappearance of her mother begins to see visions of a mysterious obelisk. Opening in 1999, Triangulum deals with the collapse of the homeland system in South Africa. Uniting science fiction, mystery, philosophy and history with an experimental structure, the novel explores ideas around time, technological progress, environmental degradation, contemporary sexuality and Africa’s role in the future of the planet.


Namwali Serpell

Namwali Serpell is a Zambian writer who teaches at the University of California, Berkeley. She’s a recipient of a 2020 Windham-Campbell Prize for fiction and the 2015 Caine Prize for African Writing. She was selected for the Africa39 in 2014 and received a 2011 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award. Her first novel, The Old Drift (Hogarth, 2019), won the 2020 Anisfield-Wolf Book prize for fiction and the L.A. Times’ Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction. It was shortlisted for the L.A. Times’  Ray Bradbury Prize for Science Fiction, Fantasy & Speculative Fiction, longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, and named one of the 100 Notable Books of the Year by The New York Times Book Review.


Nerine Dorman

Nerine Dorman is a South African author and editor of science fiction and fantasy currently living in Cape Town. Her novel Sing down the Stars won Gold for the Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature in 2019, and her YA fantasy novel Dragon Forged was a finalist in 2017. Her short story “On the Other Side of the Sea” (Omenana, 2017) was shortlisted for a 2018 Nommo award, and her novella The Firebird won a Nommo for “Best Novella” during 2019. She is the curator of the South African Horrorfest Bloody Parchment event and short story competition and is a founding member of the SFF authors’ co-operative Skolion, that has assisted authors such as Masha du Toit, Suzanne van Rooyen, Cristy Zinn and Cat Hellisen, among others, in their publishing endeavours.

Sing down the Stars:

In a future society where various alien races mix with humans, twelve-year-old Nuri performs crimes for Vadith until the day she is called away from her home in the slums by an irresistible song only she can hear. Nuri ends up in a secret training facility with the cream of Terra’s youth, who are all competing for the ultimate prize. 


Suyi Davies Okungbowa

Suyi Davies Okungbowa is the author of David Mogo, Godhunter (Abaddon, 2019) and the forthcoming The Nameless Republic trilogy (Orbit, 2021). His fiction and essays have appeared in, Lightspeed, Nightmare, Strange Horizons, Fireside and other periodicals and anthologies. Find him at and at @IAmSuyiDavies on Twitter.

David Mogo, Godhunter:

Since the Orisha War that rained thousands of deities down on the streets of Lagos, David Mogo, demigod, scours Eko’s dank underbelly for a living wage as a freelance godhunter. Despite pulling his biggest feat yet by capturing a high god for a renowned Eko wizard, David knows his job’s bad luck. He’s proved right when the wizard conjures a legion of Taboos—feral godling-child hybrids—to seize Lagos for himself. To fix his mistake, David teams up with a motley crew of gods and humans alike to keep Lagos standing.


Tade Thompson

Tade Thompson lives and works in the South of England. He is of Yoruba extraction. His background is in medicine and anthropology. His work has won the Arthur C. Clarke, the Ilube Nommo and Julia Verlanger awards among others, as well as nominated for the Hugo, Shirley Jackson, Philip K. Dick awards.

Rosewater Insurrection:

All is quiet in the city of Rosewater as it expands on the back of the gargantuan alien Wormwood. Those who know the truth of the invasion keep the secret.

The government agent Aminat, the lover of the retired sensitive Kaaro, is at the forefront of the cold, silent conflict. She must capture a woman who is the key to the survival of the human race. 


Tochi Onyebuchi

Tochi Onyebuchi is the author of the young adult novel Beasts Made of Night, which won the Ilube Nommo Award for Best Speculative Fiction Novel by an African, its sequel, Crown of Thunder, and War Girls. His adult fiction debut, Riot Baby, was published by in January 2020.

War Girls:

Nigeria in the year 2172 finds itself riven by civil war. Two sisters, Onyii and Ify, have managed to find some measure of peace in a camp for war orphans deep in the secessionist Biafran Republic. But when their camp is attacked, they are thrust on opposite sides of the conflict and each must confront their past to find their way back to each other.

The long list consists of all titles in this category that were nominated by members of the ASFS.  Some of these works were nominated once, some just missed the shortlist.  The ASFS lists them in full to draw attention to all the works members felt worthy of consideration.


Akwaeke Emezi

PET (Faber and Faber)

Eugen Bacon

CLAIMING T-MO (Meerkat Press)

Frank Owen

NORTH (Penguin Random House South Africa)

Lauri Kubuitsile

BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL  (Penguin Random House South Africa) 

Masande Ntshanga

TRIANGULUM (Penguin Random House South Africa) 

Mary Watson


Mary Watson

THE WREN HUNT (Bloomsbury)

Myles Ojabo

BLACK RIVER (Dafel Books)

Namwali Serpell

THE OLD DRIFT (Penguin Random House/Vintage/Hogarth)

Nerine Dorman

Nerine Dorman


Rachael A.Z. Mutabingwa

KUNDA (Zaaz Press) free on Kindle

Suyi Davies Okungbowa

DAVID MOGO, GODHUNTER (Simon and Schuster)

Tade Thompson

Tade Thompson

T C Farren

Temi Oh

DO YOU DREAM OF TERRA TWO? (Simon and Schuster)

Toby Bennet

THE MUSIC BOX (Tafelberg)

Tochi Onyebuchi

WAR GIRLS (Razorbill Penguin Group)

Tomi Adeyemi 

CHILDREN OF VIRTUE AND VENGEANCE (Macmillan Publishers/Henry Holt and Co.)


Evan Winters

A RAGE OF DRAGONS – first published in 2017

Mugabi Byenkya

DEAR PHILOMENA – first published 2017 (Discovery Diversity Publishing)

Tochi Onyebuchi 

RIOT BABY – published 2020 (Tom Doherty/  

Tomi Adeyemi


Shortlisted 2019  (Macmillan Publishers/Henry Holt and Co.)