Newcastle Author Honored in 2021 Indie Book Awards

Inferno of Silence by Newcastle upon Tyne resident Tolu’ A. Akinyemi has been named by the Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group as one of the best indie books of 2021.

Tolu’ A. Akinyemi’s book is the joint winner of the BEST COVER DESIGN (Fiction) category in the 2021 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, the world’s largest book awards program for independent publishers and self-published authors. The winners and finalists will be honored June 25 in an online event which will stream live on Facebook at at 7:00 pm (Eastern Time) and 4:00 pm (Pacific Time).

Tolu says “I’m super delighted with this award win and sincere thanks to the team at Next Generation Indie Book Awards for finding my book worthy of the win.”

2021 is the 14th year of the largest International book awards program. This year’s Gold Sponsor is MindStir Media, an award-winning self-publishing company that helps people from all walks of life self-publish, distribute and market their books. Outskirts Press, an award-winning independent book publisher which provides services for self-publishing authors, returns as a Silver Sponsor of this year’s awards.

The Next Generation Indie Book Awards are judged by leaders of the indie book publishing industry, including many with long careers at major publishing houses. Their love of a great read and experience in the publishing arena identify books deserving a wider audience.

In an article at titled If it’s cool, creative, and different, it’s indie, journalist Catherine Andrews wrote: “The term ‘indie’ traditionally refers to independent art – music, film, literature or anything that fits under the broad banner of culture – created outside of the mainstream and without corporate financing.” That definition remains true for book publishing.

Independent book publishing companies are independent of the major conglomerates dominating the book publishing industry. Indies include small presses, larger independent publishers, university presses, e-book publishers, and self-published authors.

According to Catherine Goulet, Founder and Co-Chair of the Next Generation Indie Book Awards, “Like other independent artists, many indie book publishers face challenges that the industry giants don’t experience. The indies have to work much harder to get their best books into readers’ hands.”

“Authors and publishers who compete in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards are serious about promoting their books,” adds Goulet. “They aim to stand out from the crowd of millions of books in print.”

According to the most recent (October 2019) report by Bowker, publisher of the Books in Print database, the number of titles self-published in the United States grew to over 1.6 million in 2018, an increase of 40% over the previous year. “This trend is likely to continue as the quality of many self-published works now rivals that of traditionally published titles,” according to the report.

Worldwide, as of 2021, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) estimates more than 2.7 million books are now being published in a single year. 

To help indie authors and publishers reach a wider audience, the top 70 books in the 2021 Next Generation Indie Book Awards will be reviewed by New York literary agent Marilyn Allen of Allen O’Shea Literary Agency, or one of Ms. Allen’s co-agents, for possible representation in areas such as: distribution, foreign rights, film rights, and other rights.

The awards will be presented on June 25 in an online event which will stream live on Facebook at at 7:00 pm (Eastern Time) and 4:00 pm (Pacific Time).

A video of last year’s event has been viewed more than 93,000 times on Facebook. The awards event was originally planned to take place at Chicago’s Newberry Library, to coincide with the American Library Association Annual Conference, but was moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other prize-winning books in the 2021 Next Generation Indie Book Awards include:

Top Non-Fiction Books

First Place Winner ($1,500 Prize)

Anonymous Is a Woman: A Global Chronicle of Gender Inequality, by Nina Ansary, Illustrated by Petra Dufkova (Revela Press)

Second Place Winner ($750 Prize)

New Zealand Karst – A voyage across limestone landscapes into the subterranean realm of caves, by Max Wisshak and Stefanie Wisshak (speleo-photo editions)

Third Place Winner ($500 Prize)

Let’s Talk About It: The Art, the Artists and the Racial Justice Movement on Madison’s State Street, Editor Adam Schrager, Project Director Nyra Jordan, Designer Ian Chalgren (American Family Mutual Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact)

Top Fiction Books

First Place Winner ($1,500 Prize)

Sapphire the Great and the Meaning of Life, by Beverley Brenna, Illustrated by Tara Anderson (Pajama Press)

Second Place Winner ($750 Prize)

Death’s Door, by April White (Corazon Entertainment)

Third Place Winner ($500 Prize)

Seeing Ceremony, by Meera Ekkanath Klein (Homebound Publications)

Other Winners

Top books were named as winners and finalists in over 70 publishing categories ranging from Action/Adventure to Young Author.

A complete list of 2021 winners and finalists is available at the Next Generation Indie Book Awards website at

Synopsis of ‘Inferno of Silence’:

The first collection of short stories by this multitalented author entwines everyday events that are articulated in excellent storytelling.

The title story “Inferno of Silence” portrays men’s societal challenges and the unspoken truths and burdens that men bear, while “Black lives Matter” shows the firsthand trauma of a man facing racism as a footballer plying his trade in Europe.

Stories range from “Return Journey” where we encounter a techpreneur/ Poet/Serial Womanizer confronting consequences of his past actions, to “Blinded by Silence,” where a couple united by love must face a political upheaval changing their fortune.

These are completed with stories of relationships: “Trouble in Umudike” – about family wealth and marriage; “Everybody don Kolomental” where the main character deals with mental health issues; and “In the Trap of Seers” when one’s life is on auto-reverse with the death of her confidante, her mother, as she takes us through her ordeal and journey to redemption.
This is a broad and very inclusive collection.

‘Inferno of Silence’ is available to order: and

About the Author:

Tolu’ A. Akinyemi (also known as Tolutoludo & Lion of Newcastle) is a multi-award-winning Nigerian author in the genre of poetry, short story, Children’s Literature and essays, which include: Dead Lions Don’t Roar (Poetry, 2017), Unravel Your Hidden Gems (Essays, 2018), Dead Dogs Don’t Bark (Poetry, 2018), Dead Cats Don’t Meow (Poetry, 2019), Never Play Games With The Devil (Poetry, 2019), Inferno of Silence (Short Stories, 2020), A Booktiful Love (Poetry, 2020), Black ≠ Inferior (Poetry, 2021), Never Marry a Writer (Poetry, 2021), Everybody Don Kolomental (Poetry, 2021), I Wear Self-Confidence Like a Second Skin (Children’s Literature, 2021) I Am Not a Troublemaker (Children’s Literature, 2021) and A god in a human body (Poetry, forthcoming –  January 2022).

Tolu’ has been endorsed by Arts Council England as a writer with “exceptional talent.”

He is a co-founder of Lion and Lilac, a UK-based arts organization and sits on the board of many organizations. 

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