By Prisca Sam-Duru
The Advisory Board for the Nigeria LNG Limited, NLNG-sponsored Nigeria Prize for Literature has announced the shortlist of 11 competing for this year’s edition of the prize worth $100,000.
In a statement by the General Manager, External Relations and Sustainable Development, Nigeria LNG, Eyono Fatayi-Williams, the long list of 11 was drawn from 202 entries received for the 2021 edition of the prize.
The 11 books on the list include: “Delusion of Patriots” by Obianuju V. Chukwuorji; “Give Us Each Day” by Samuel Monye; “Imminent River” by Anaele Ihuoma; “In The Name of Our Father” by Olukorede S. Yishau and “Mountain of Yesterday” by Tony Nwaka.
Others on the list are: “Neglected” by Lucy Chiamaka Okwuma; “The Colours of Hatred” by Obinna Udenwa; “The Girl with The Louding Voice” by Abi Dare; “The Return of Half- Something” by Chukwudi Eze; “The Son of The House” by Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia; and “Your Church My Shrine” by Law Ikay Ezeh.
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A shortlist of three is expected in September while a winner, if any, will be announced by the Advisory Board of the prize in October 2021.
The list was presented by the Chairman, Panel of Judges for this year’s prize, Professor Toyin Jegede, who is a professor of Literature in English at the University of Ibadan.
Other judges are Prof. Tanimu Abubakar, a Professor of Literature in the Faculty of Art, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, and Dr. Solomon Azumurana, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Lagos.
The judges described the “list as fresh approaches to looking at issues, using new and exciting narrative strategies, techniques and well-written organic plots to present topical discussions in realistic ways.”
They added that “there has been a visible improvement in writing skills and commended NLNG for giving writers the platform to blossom and experiment.”
As in the past, the Nigeria Prize for Literature, sponsored by the Nigeria LNG, Africa’s biggest reward for creative excellence, will be keenly contested.
According to the Chairperson of the prize’s Advisory Board, Professor Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo, the Board unanimously agreed that the shortlist of 11 was an excellent list.
She further expressed her appreciation to the judges for a thorough job in selecting the shortlist.
“Excellence was the watchword of the prize,” she stated, adding that “the onus was on the Advisory Board to continue in the tradition that was handed to them by the past Board.”
The Nigeria Prize for Literature has, since 2004, rewarded eminent writers in all the literary categories that the prize rotates yearly— poetry, prose, drama and children’s literature.
The prize runs concurrently with the Nigeria Prize for Literary Criticism, which is also sponsored by NLNG for which four entries were received in 2020.
The literary criticism prize carries a monetary value of N1 million.