Yepoka Yeebo has won the Biographers International Organization’s Plutarch Award, given annually to the best biography of the year, for Anansi’s Gold: The Man Who Looted the West, Outfoxed  Washington, and Swindled the World.

Yeebo’s book tells the story of John Ackah Blay-Miezah, a Ghanaian con man who fooled people into believing that he was the custodian of a fictional trust left by former President Kwame Nkrumah. Blay-Miezah made hundreds of millions of dollars off the lie. In a starred review, a critic for Kirkus praised the book as “utterly absorbing.”

Carol Sklenicka, the chair of BIO’s Plutarch Award committee, said in a statement, “Yepoka Yeebo’s voice holds our attention from first page to last. The image she projects of John Ackah Blay-Miezah and the worlds in which he operated is illuminating, cautionary, and unforgettable.”

Yeebo said, “Writing about someone who isn’t a household name, in a place that isn’t familiar to many readers, and digging through a past full of misdirection and suppression can feel futile. I hope this award helps convince other writers, chasing lesser-known characters in unexpected places, that it’s worth the slog: that the beauty of what they do—of the most obscure aspects of their research—will be recognized.”

The Plutarch Award was established in 2013. Previous winners include Robert Caro for The Passage of Power, Ruth Franklin for Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life, and Jennifer Homans for Mr. B: George Balanchine’s 20th Century.

Michael Schaub is a contributing writer.