Obayemi Onafuwa ’96, who writes under the pen name Teju Cole, has won the 2012 Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award for a distinguished first book of fiction for Open City. Cole will receive a $10,000 prize from the Hemingway Foundation and PEN New England, as well as a residency in The Distinguished Visiting Writers Series at the University of Idaho’s MFA Program in Creative Writing.
The Hemingway award was founded in 1976 by Mary Hemingway, widow of Nobel Prize-winning writer Ernest Hemingway. Patrick Hemingway, the writer’s son, will present the prestigious literary award to Cole on April 1 at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.
Past recipients of the award include Edward P. Jones, who received an honorary degree from Kalamazoo College in 2011.
Cole is a writer, art historian, and street photographer. Born in the United States to Nigerian parents, he was raised in Nigeria and currently lives in Brooklyn. He received his B.A. in studio art and art history from Kalamazoo College; his M.A. in African art history from the University of London; and his M.Phil. in 16th-century northern European visual culture from Columbia University, where he is working on his Ph.D.