Uzodinma Iweala during a public reading at the Frankfurt Book Fair on October 17, 2008.

Uzodinma Iweala emerges as the 2023 Leo Award recipient

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Uzodinma Iweala emerges as the 2023 Leo Award recipient

Uzodinma Iweala during a public reading at the Frankfurt Book Fair on October 17, 2008.

Uzodinma Iweala, the acclaimed author of “The Beast of No Nation,” has been honored with the prestigious 2023 Leo Award by Independent Curators International (ICI), an esteemed NGO based in New York.

As CEO of New York’s African Center since 2018, Iweala, alongside his dedicated team, has tirelessly worked towards reshaping the global perception of Africa and its diaspora, while shining a spotlight on the remarkable achievements of individuals of African descent. Recognizing their remarkable efforts, the ICI commended Uzodinma Iweala and his team for fostering dialogue, dismantling barriers, and amplifying diverse voices from the African continent.

The Africa Center has successfully undergone a remarkable transformation, emerging as a dynamic cultural hub that celebrates the richness and vitality of African culture. It has not only become a trailblazing model for civic institutions but has also fostered an inclusive environment that promotes cross-cultural understanding and collaboration. The center’s programming encompasses a wide range of perspectives, spanning politics, economics, literature, cuisine, and the arts.

Renaud Proch, the executive and artistic director of ICI, expressed great pleasure in awarding Uzo and his team with the 2023 Leo Award, acknowledging their inspiring collaborative efforts. The partnership between ICI and the Africa Center holds immense significance and will continue to shape future programs for years to come. The alignment of Uzo’s visionary approach and the center’s values, emphasizing collaboration, empowerment, global solidarity, and generative thinking, resonates deeply with ICI’s mission.

About Uzodinma Iweala

Before joining the Africa Center, Uzodinma Iweala co-founded and served as CEO and editor-in-chief of Ventures Africa magazine, gaining recognition for his profound writings on African and diasporic experiences. Notably, his novel “Speak No Evil” (2018) explored the intersecting themes of race, class, gender, sexuality, nationality, and diaspora through the story of a queer Nigerian American youth in Washington, D.C. Furthermore, his nonfiction book “Our Kind of People” (2012) shed light on AIDS in Nigeria. Iweala’s debut novel, “Beasts of No Nation” (2005), received critical acclaim, winning the Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, a category of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and later being adapted into a film.

The Leo Award, named after the renowned art dealer Leo Castelli, is a highly esteemed recognition that celebrates outstanding contributions to contemporary art. Past recipients of this esteemed prize include curator Candice Hopkins, collector Dimitris Daskalopoulos, gallerist Marian Goodman, Los Angeles County Museum of Art director Michael Govan, filmmaker Steve McQueen, fashion designer Miuccia Prada, and collector Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo.

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