Showing posts with label Pulitzer Prize. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pulitzer Prize. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

The Nigeria Prize for Literature Has Not Improved the Literary Culture of Nigeria

The Nigeria Prize for Literature is the biggest prize in African literature worth US$100,000 to the winner. It is fully sponsored by the Nigeria LNG Limited, that founded it in 2004 for outstanding literary works  by Nigerian authors in Nigeria. 

The prize rotates among four genres; fiction, poetry, drama and children’s literature: repeating the cycle every four years.

I was opportuned to be with the inaugural members of the organising committee during their meeting in 2004, at the Federal Palace Hotel & Casino on Victoria Island, Lagos. I went there to meet with the famous Nigerian novelist, Eddie Iroh and Ms. Siene Allwell-Brown, the famous broadcaster at the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) who was now, the General Manager for External Affairs of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Limited. The Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Nigeria Prize for Literature, Emeritus Professor Ayo Banjo was there. His beautiful daughter, Elizabeth Banjo came second to me when I won the first prize in a national essay competition sponsored by the Pop Magazine for children and teens in 1976.

The Nigeria Prize for Literature is laudable for improving the welfare of the winners. But it has not improved the literary culture of Nigeria. It has failed to achieve what other coveted literary prizes have achieved in America, Europe, Asia and Australia where winning a major prize for literature makes the winner a bestselling author by boosting the celebrity status, increasing the popularity and increasing the demand for the winning author and the winning book like the Pulitzer Prize in America and the Booker Prize in the UK. The news will make local and international headlines and will increase the public appreciation and sales of the books among readers. But contrary to our expectations, majority of literate people in Nigeria don't even know the titles of the winning books of the Nigeria Prize for Literature. If you doubt me, do a public opinion on radio and TV on the streets of Lagos, Abuja and other cities in the country, and you will see how clueless and ignorant majority of Nigerians are about the so called most prestigious literary prize in Africa and the winning books.

What makes it prestigious? The prestige of the worth of the cash prize of US$100, 000 or the intellectual esteem of the winning authors?

The sponsor of the Nigeria Prize for Literature and their public relations company have failed to use the prize for the appreciation of the reading culture which is most vital to the improvement of the literary culture of Nigeria where majority of Nigerians don't read books, except for the  recommended text books for pupils and students. Majority of Nigerians stop reading after graduation and after their professional examinations.

Just handing out US$100, 000 to the author of the book selected as best entry in the national competition is not enough to improve the lives of Nigerian authors and improve the literary culture of Nigeria without making sure that Nigerians read their books and celebrate their literary achievements as examplary role models worthy of emulation in the inspiration for outstanding success in human development and the  advancement of modern civilisation in Nigeria.

Nobel laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka sitting with Adeleke Adeyemi and his wife Wosilat Adeyemi at the event of The Nigeria Prize for Literature award ceremony on February 6, 2012, at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) on Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria. 

The Federal Ministry of Education and ministries of education in the 36 states and Abuja should be involved in the appreciation of the Nigeria Prize for Literature to make recommendations for the winning books to be included in the selections for reading booklists of primary and secondary schools and tertiary institutions. For example, I recommended that Adeleke Adeyemi's Children's story book, "The Missing Clock", that won the Nigeria Prize for Literature in 2011 should be on the reading list for primary schools in Nigeria and in particularly in Ekiti state, the state of origin of the author. And the Federal Ministry of Education should purchase as many copies as possible for distribution to all the public schools in the country. The prize winning authors should have interviews on radio and TV and the governors of their states should celebrate them. 

There should be reading and book signing tours for the winning authors to selected schools and tertiary institutions; to clubs like the Ikoyi Club, Metropolitan Club, Capital Club, Ikeja Country Club and other locations that will increase the appreciation and cultivation of literary culture in the Nigerian society.

- By  Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima,

Founder/CEO, WEREADđź’•đź’‹



247 Nigeriia) / Twitter

Saturday, April 25, 2009

How the Web Dominated the Breaking News Pulitzer Prize

24 Apr 2009 17:01 Africa/Lagos

Nieman Journalism Lab: How the Web Dominated the Breaking News Pulitzer Prize

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., April 24 /PRNewswire/ -- The three newspapers honored by the Pulitzer Prize Board for Breaking News all shared a common thread: They used the web as their primary outlet, not ink-on-paper.

The New York Times -- which won the prize -- and finalists the Houston Chronicle and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch each shifted to a web-first mentality when faced with big breaking news. That was true whether the news was a prostitution scandal (Times), a hurricane (Chronicle), or a shooting (Post-Dispatch).

"We cover news any way people need news," Chronicle editor Jeff Cohen told the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard. We cover it online, analog, digital, straight media -- any way you can serve it up, our staff is serving it up."

In-depth analysis of each of the Pulitzer finalists can be found at:

New York Times Wins Pulitzer Prize

Breaking News Winners

The Nieman Journalism Lab is a project at Harvard University to figure out the future of quality journalism online. Its site is

Source: Nieman Journalism Lab

CONTACT: Joshua Benton, director of Nieman Journalism Lab,

Web Site: