The Advisory Board for The Nigeria Prize for Literature, led by Emeritus Professor Ayo Banjo has announced an initial shortlist of eleven books, drawn from 184 entries, in the running for the 2017 edition of the competition.
A statement from the General Manager, External Relations, NLNG, Dr. Kudo Eresia-Eke, said the shortlisted poets include Akinlabi, Peter (Iconography), Ekwuazi, Hyginus (One Day I’ll Dare to Raise My Middle Finger at the Stork and the Reaper), Gomba, Obari (For Every Homeland), and Ifowodo, Ogaga (A Good Mourning). Others are Lari-Williams, Seun (Garri for Breakfast), Ogu, Humphrey (Echoes of Neglect), Ojaide, Tanure (Songs of Myself: Quartet), Oke, Ikeogu (The Heresiad), Othman, Abubakar (Blood Streams in the Desert), Verissimo, Jumoke (The Birth of Illusion), and Yeibo, Ebi (Of Waters and the Wild).
The list was presented by the panel of judges for this year’s prize, led by the chairperson, Ernest Emenyonu, a professor of Africana Studies at the University of Michigan-Flint, U.S. Other members of the panel include Razinat Mohammed, associate professor of Literature at the University of Maiduguri and Tade Ipadeola, poet, lawyer and winner of The Nigeria Prize for Literature in 2013, with The Sahara testaments.
Members of the Advisory Board for the Literature Prize, besides Professor Banjo, a two-time Vice-Chancellor of Nigeria’s premier university, University of Ibadan, are Prof. Jerry Agada, former Minister of State for Education and former President, Association of Nigerian Authors, and Professor Emeritus Ben Elugbe, former President, Nigerian Academy of Letters and president of West-African Linguistics Society (2004 – 2013).
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) for The Dreamer, His Vision, Ahmed Yerima (2005, drama) for his play, 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) for her book, My Cousin Sammy, and Kaine Agary (2008, prose) for her book Yellow Yellow.
Also, Esiaba Irobi (2010, drama) clinched the prize posthumously with his book Cemetery Road, Adeleke Adeyemi (2011, children’s literature) with his book The Missing Clock; Chika Unigwe (2012, prose), with her novel, On Black Sisters Street, Tade Ipadeola (2013, poetry) with his collection of poems, The Sahara Testaments, Professor Sam Ukala (2014, drama) with his play, Iredi War and Seasons of Crimson Blossom, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim (2016, prose).
The Nigeria Prize for Literature rotates yearly amongst four literary genres: prose fiction, poetry, drama and children’s literature. The 2017 prize is for poetry and comes with a cash award 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 helping to build a better Nigeria.
A shortlist of three is expected in September and a possible winner will be announced by the Advisory Board in October.