Yemisi Aribisala Becomes First Black African To Win John Avery Award
Nigerian food writer Yemisi Aribisala has been awarded the prestigious John Avery Award at the André Simon Food and Drink Book Awards.
According to Cassava Republic Press, Yemisi will be the first black African to win the award in its 39 years’ history.
The award it said was won last year by the famous British chef, Jamie Oliver for Super Food.
At last night’s award ceremony at The Goring Hotel, Cassava Republic Press Publishing Director, Bibi Bakare-Yusuf, accepted the award on behalf of Yemisi Aribisala and read a note of thanks from the author:
“There was nothing I wanted to do more with this book than bring it to a dinner conversation with like-minded, passionate and engaged people. This book tells the truth about every single Nigerian. This is our food. These are our stories. This is just a slice of our humanity. These are many of the good things we have to offer the rest of the world. I take a lot of pride in being Nigerian. I wrote this book for us but how wonderful it is to share it with you.”
The judges were excited by Aribisala’s mouth-watering account of Nigerian culture revealed through her lyrical examination of the relationship between food, politics, religion, ethnicity and sex.
Food writer and historian Bee Wilson, this year’s food assessor, said:
“Longthroat Memoirs by Yemisi Aribisala is a breathtakingly original and fresh piece of food writing, which I found myself not just reading but compulsively re-reading. In her wit and truth telling, Aribisala’s voice reminded me of the writing of M.F.K. Fisher. Whether she is writing about the mucilaginous properties of okra soup or the sensuous appeal of eggs, Aribisala is that rare writer who makes you laugh while also informing you about Nigerian food, which, as she points out, is something that has been ‘misunderstood, atrociously photographed, not yet given its due’. Thanks to this book, this should now change.”
Cassava Republic Press Publishing Director, Bibi Bakare-Yusuf, said of the book:
“Longthroat Memoirs puts Nigerian food culture on the global map. It tells the story of how food reflects the intimate side of a culture and offers the context for reading all Nigerian recipe books. Whether you are Nigerian or not, this book is a beautiful read, introducing a terrifically talented writer onto the global stage. This book is our first food title and was a real labour of love. Cassava Republic Press is proud and delighted to have won this prize, especially against such strong competition.’