Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, Chika Unigwe and Elnathan John have been announced in the Nigeria Prize for Literature 2016 shortlist.
The Nigeria Prize for Literature sponsored by Nigeria LNG Limited is the richest prize in African literature with the winner going home with US$100,000. The prize rotates around four genres; Fiction, Poetry, Drama and Children’s literature. Some previous winner of the prize were Gabriel Okara, Ahmed Yerima , Mabel Segun , Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo, Kaine Agary, Tade Ipadeola and Sam Ukala.
This year the prize was focused on fiction and the team have announced their shortlist and those in the running names that have been doing the rounds in recent times. They are Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, Chika Unigwe and Elnathan John.
Chika Unigwe won the last edition of the prize that was dedicated to fiction for her novel On Black Sisters’ Street. Her book in the running for the big cash is Night Dancer a book that focuses on a young protagonist’s search for identity and her consequent reappraisal of her mother’s values.
Abubakar Adam Ibrahim is a journalist and editor based in Abuja. The former Caine Prize nominee’s initial contribution to the world of letters was The Whispering Trees one of the most well received short story collections in the last decade. His book running for the prize is Season of Crimson Blossoms which we loved (our review) about an older woman, the word is cougar still I think, who hooks up with a young thug in Northern Nigeria.
Elnathan John, also a Caine Prize nominee, has the book Born on a Tuesday also based in Northern Nigeria as a young man taken under the tutelage of a sheikh and who finds himself in the midst of the political and religious violence that grips parts of his homeland.
The judges led by Prof. Dan Izevbaye include Asabe Usman Kabir, professor of Oral and African Literatures at Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto and Isidore Diala, first winner of The Nigeria Prize for Literary Criticism and professor of African literature in the Department of English, Imo State University, Owerri.
The winner of the big bucks will be announced at a press conference in October.