Gloria Mwaniga Odary Wins The Georgia Review Prose Prize

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Gloria Mwaniga Odary has been awarded The Georgia Review Prose Prize for her work “Henna is Just Roots.” The Kenyan writer will receive $1,500 for her outstanding story.

This year’s prize was judged by Danielle Evans, who described “Henna is Just Roots” as “gorgeous and haunting work.” She praised it as a vivid portrayal of girlhood and childhood friendship, while also delving into themes of atrocity and trauma. She said:

“Henna is Just Roots’ is gorgeous and haunting work, both a vibrant, giddy encapsulation of girlhood and childhood friendship and an account of atrocity and the trauma it leaves in its wake. The author’s accomplished sense of what to leave off of the page underscores what has been lost and how difficult it is to look directly at it, giving its characters what grace it can without losing sight of the weight of its subject matter.”

The Georgia Review, a literary-cultural journal published by the University of Georgia since 1947, initially focused on regional content but has since expanded its scope to include readers and writers from around the world. Through its print journal and live programming, The Georgia Review brings together diverse voices to engage in dialogue. The publication believes that communities flourish when built on respectful dialogue that acknowledges the differences between individuals. They publish imaginative work that challenges conventional boundaries, encouraging readers to rethink established lines of thinking and engage in meaningful conversations in their own lives.

In addition to Gloria Mwaniga Odary’s winning manuscript, Susan Li was awarded the runner-up prize for The Georgia Review Prose Prize. Judge Danielle Evans also selected eight finalists for The Georgia Review Prose Prize. They are:

  • “Survival Meal: A One Woman Show” by Azaria Brown
  • “What Must Be Will Be” by Olivia Cheng
  • “Pangea Ultima” by Monica Judge
  • “Let Air Remain Air” by Lilly Nguyen
  • “Burning Ring” by Debra Nystrom
  • “Counterparts” by Randolph Thomas
  • “Roleplay” by Qianze Zhang
  • “The Other Boys” by EY Zhao

Gloria Mwaniga Odary is a Kenyan writer, educator, and columnist for the Daily Nation and The East African. A graduate of the University of Nairobi, she has also attended Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Writing Workshop in Nigeria. In 2019, she was awarded a Miles Morland Writing Scholarship. In 2022, her story “Boyi” won the inaugural African Land Policy Centre Story Prize and was featured in the anthology “Finding Ground and other stories: ALPC Anthology of short stories on Land in Africa.” Her work has been published in The Johannesburg Review of Books and The White Review.

Congratulations to Gloria Mwaniga Odary on her achievements!


Bakare Oluwatobiloba

I write to educate, motivate and define history with literature. Just being me!