Saturday, August 17, 2013

Who Will Win the 2013 Nigeria Prize for Literature?

Prof. Femi Osofisan and Prof. Remi Raji are the foremost contenders.

Who Will Win the 2013 Nigeria Prize for Literature? 

It is really difficult for anyone to predict who will win the Nigeria Prize for Literature this year, even though only a couple of the writers who made the final shortlist are among the most accomplished poets in Nigeria. I can pick out the geniuses in poetry among them. When you have Prof. Femi Osofisan , aka Okinba Launko and Prof. Remi Raji in the same contest for the most coveted and richest literary prize in Africa, then it is not an easy task for the judges. The other 9 authors on the shortlist must also be good to have made the final list of 11 from the 201 entries, but only few of them have proved to be seasoned poets over the years. Personally, I don’t believe in prose writers becoming poets overnight so that they can compete for the poetry category of the Nigeria Prize for Literature which rotates annually among the four major genres of Prose Fiction, Poetry, Drama and Children's literature, especially when the cash prize is a whopping US$100, 000! That is enough to make anyone transform into Wole Soyinka overnight! 

On August 12th 2013, the Advisory Board for The Nigeria Prize for Literature approved the following shortlist of 11 out of the 201 books submitted for the 2013 edition of the prize. 

  • Letter Home and Biafran Nights by Akeh Afam
  • Symphony of Becoming by Eke Iquo
  • Birthcry by Nwakanma Obi
  • Wild Letters by Ogochukwu Promise
  • Globetrotter and Hitler’s Children by Ede Amatoritsero
  • Marsh Boy and Other Poems by Egbewo G’ebinyo
  • Length of Eyes by Gomba Obari
  • The Sahara Testaments by Ipadeola Tade
  • Seven Stations up the Stairwell by Launko Kinba (pen name for Femi Osofisan)
  • Through the Window of a Sandcastle by Nnadi Amu
  • Sea of My Mind by Raji Remi
The list was arrived at after three months of intensive scrutiny by the panel of judges for this year’s prize, led by Professor Romanus Egudu, a renowned poet, literary critic and former President, Association of Nigerian Authors. He is of the Department of English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. Other members of the panel are Prof. Omolara Ogundipe of Department of English, University of Port-Harcourt, Rivers State and Dr. Andrew Abah of Department of English, Benue State University, Makurdi, Benue State.

The Advisory Board led by its chairman Professor Emeritus Ayo Banjo announced that the final shortlist will be released soon. Other members of the Advisory Board are Professor Ben Elugbe, former President, Nigerian Academy of Letters and Dr. Jerry Agada, former President of the Association of Nigerian Authors and one time Minister of State for Education

The Nigeria Prize for Literature has since 2004 rewarded eminent writers such as Gabriel Okara (co-winner, 2004, poetry), Professor Ezenwa Ohaeto (co-winner, 2004, poetry); Ahmed Yerima (2005, drama) for his classic, Hard Ground; Mabel Segun (co-winner, 2007, children’s literature) for her collection of short plays Reader’s Theatre; Professor Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo (co-winner, 2007, children’s literature) with her book, My Cousin Sammy; Kaine Agary (2008, prose); Esiaba Irobi (2010, drama) who clinched the prize posthumously with his book Cemetery Road; Adeleke Adeyemi (2011, children’s literature) with his book The Missing Clock; and Chika Unigwe (2012 – prose), with her novel, On Black Sister’s Street.
The Nigeria Prize for Literature rotates yearly amongst four literary genres: prose fiction, poetry, drama and children’s literature. The 2013 prize is for poetry and comes with a cash prize of $100, 000. Next year is drama.

Nigeria LNG Limited remains committed to responsible corporate citizenship and The Nigeria Prize for Literature is one of its numerous contributions towards building a better Nigeria



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