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2016 Winner of $100,000 Nigeria prize for Literature emerges

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By Prisca Sam-Duru

The Advisory Board of the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas, NLNG, sponsored  essay competition, The Nigeria Prize for Literature, led by Professor Ayo Banjo has announced  Abubakar Adam Ibrahim as winner of the 2016 edition of the prestigious Prize for literature.

Ibrahim, who won for his entry, A Season of Crimson Blossoms, received a cash prize worth §100, 000, with his novel, Season of Crimson Blossom.

Professor Banjo described Abubakar’s Season of Crimson Blossoms, his first novel, as “skilful and sympathetic narrative.”

The novel is set in the conservative northern Nigeria and tells the story between a 55-year-old widow, Binta and 25-year-old ‘area-boy’ Reza. Their lives become intertwined when Reza tries to rob Binta.

Adam, a journalist, won the Prize beating, Elnathan John’s ‘Born on a Tuesday’ and past winner Chika Unigwe’s ‘Night Dancer’.

The prize for the winners, which is awarded annually by the NNLG was announced Wednesday at a World Press Conference held in Sheraton Hotel, Lagos.

Three finalists had earlier been named for this year’s edition of the prize.

They were Elnathan John (author of Born On A Tuesday); Chika Unigwe, (author of Night Dancer), and,  Mr. Ibrahim.

 A total of 173 authors of prose fiction entered for the competition this year, which had at the head of its judging panel Prof. Dan Izevbaye, the renowned professor of Literature and literary critic.

The other judges include Asabe Usman Kabir, professor of Oral and African Literatures at Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto and Isidore Diala, professor of African Literature in the Department of English, Imo State University, Owerri.

Celebrating literary excellence for the twelfth year running, the Nigeria Prize for Literature has since 2004 rewarded eminent writers such as Gabriel Okara for his VolumeThe Dreamer, His Vision (co-winner of the 2005 prize, awarded in the genre of poetry); Ezenwa Ohaeto, for Chants of a Minstrel (co-winner in 2005 for poetry); Ahmed Yerima (2006, drama) forHard Ground; Mabel Segun (co-winner in 2007, awarded for children’s literature) for her collection of short plays Reader’s Theatre; and Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo (co-winner in 2007, children’s literature) with My Cousin Sammy.

Also, Kaine Agary (in 2008, for prose) for her novel, Yellow Yellow; Esiaba Irobi (2010, for drama) who won the prize posthumously with Cemetery Road; Adeleke Adeyemi (2011, children’s literature) with The Missing Clock and Chika Unigwe (2012, prose), with her novel, On Black Sisters’ Street, Tade Ipadeola (2013, for poetry) with his collection of poems, The Sahara Testaments and Sam Ukala (2014, drama) with his play, Iredi War.

The Nigeria Prize for Literature rotates yearly amongst four literary genres – prose fiction, poetry, drama and children’s literature. The 2016 Prize is for prose fiction and comes with a cash prize of $100, 000. Next year’s prize will be for poetry.

Mr. Ibrahim, journalist and writer is a first-time novelist. He was winner of the BBC African Performance Prize, the Amatu Braide Prize for Prose; a Gabriel Garcia Marquez Fellow (2013) and Civitella Ranieri Fellow (2015) – lays out the influences that have shaped his world view, and his hope of possibly winning the grand prize.


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