ELEVEN authors and their entries have been announced on the initial long list of the 2017 edition of The Nigeria Prize for Literature, sponsored by the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Company Limited.
The names of the authors and their entries include Peter Akinlabi (Iconography); Hyginus Ekwuazi (One Day I’ll Dare to Raise My Middle Finger at the Stork and the Reaper); Obari Gomba (For Every Homeland); Ogaga Ifowodo (A Good Mourning); Seun Lari-Williams (Garri for Breakfast); Humphrey Ogu (Echoes of Neglect) and Tanure Ojaide (Songs of Myself: Quartet).
The others are Ikeogu Oke (The Heresiad); Abubakar Othman (Blood Streams in the Desert); Jumoke Verissimo (The Birth of Illusion) and Ebi Yeibo (Of Waters and the Wild).
A statement signed by the General Manager, External Relations, Kudo Eresia-Eke, indicated that the list was presented by the panel of judges led by the Chairperson, Prof. Ernest Emenyonu of the University of Michigan, USA. Other members of the panel include Dr Razinat Mohammed, associate professor of Literature at the University of Maiduguri, and Tade Ipadeola, poet, lawyer and winner of The Nigeria Prize for Literature, 2013.
As in previous years, the contest for Africa’s most prestigious literature prize will be keenly contested.
Since 2004, a total of 12 writers have won the prize. They include Gabriel Okara (co-winner, 2004, poetry), Prof. 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 titled Reader’s Theatre; Prof. Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo (co-winner, 2007, children’s literature) for her book, My Cousin Sammy and others.
The award rotates yearly among 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.
A final shortlist of three is expected in September and a possible winner will be announced by the Advisory Board for the prize, led by Emeritus Prof. Ayo Banjo in October.