The longlist for the richest prize in African literature, the Nigeria Prize for Literature 2017, has been announced today.
The Nigerian Prize for Literature set up in 2004 annually rotates among four genres – Fiction, Poetry, Drama and Children’s literature. Previous winners of the prize are Gabriel Okara (co-winner, 2004, poetry) and Professor Ezenwa Ohaeto (co-winner, 2004, poetry); 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; Prof Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo (co-winner, 2007, children’s literature) for her book, My Cousin Sammy; Kaine Agary (2008, prose) for her book Yellow Yellow; Esiaba Irobi (2010, drama) who 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 2017 prize is for poetry and comes with a cash award of $100, 000.
The Advisory Board for the prize 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. Judging the prize led by Prof Ernest Emenyonu, professor of Africana Studies at the University of Michigan-Flint, USA are 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. The shortlisted poets are;
- 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
- Tanure Ojaide – Songs of Myself: Quartet
- Ikeogu Oke- The Heresiad
- Abubakar Othman – Blood Streams in the Desert
- Jumoke Verissimo – The Birth of Illusion
- Ebi Yeibo – Of Waters and the Wild
A shortlist of three is expected in September and a possible winner will be announced by the Advisory Board in October.