Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia, Obinna Odenwe, and Chukwudi Eze make up the shortlist for the Chinua Achebe Prize for Literature 2021 announced on November 1, 2021.
Chinua Achebe is one of the most influential names in modern African literature. He is the author of the most well-read book by an African for his 1958 debut novel Things Fall Apart. His other novels were other No Longer At Ease, Arrow of God, A Man of the People, and Anthills of the Savannah. He is also the author of many works of nonfiction. His influence was also felt in his role as a pioneer of the Heinemann African Writers Series which introduced many African writers to the world.
The Nigerian author was the inaugural president of the Association of Nigerian Authors, a non-profit organisation to promote Nigerian literature when it was founded in 1981. For many years, this was the only organisation that brought many writers together in Nigeria especially in the dark period in the 1980s.
The Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) unveiled a prize in honour of their founder president and one of the most famous names in Nigerian and African literature for this their 40th year. The new Chinua Achebe Prize for Nigerian Writing will be awarded to the best novel published by a Nigerian writer in each calendar year. The prize got a critical shot in the art when Anambra State, Achebe’s home state, gave an endowment of 1 Million Naira to run it.
The shortlist for the first edition of the Chinua Achebe Prize was announced in a statement sent out by ANA Secretary General Maik Ortserga on Monday with the following making the cut;
- The Son of the House – Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia
- Colours of Hatred – Obinna Odenwe
- The Return of Half Something – Chukwudi Eze
The statement stated, “The judges affirmed that many of the over forty entries were exquisitely written with astonishing finesse. The prize has come to stay and we call on Nigerian writers to take advantage of it in the forthcoming year too.”
Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia said in response to the shortlist announcement, “this means a lot to me, to be connected however remotely with Achebe.”
Obinna Odenwe posted;
“And Colours of Hatred is up for The Chinua Achebe Prize for Literature 2021, and for the second time, it is up with The Son of the House. 😍
While we cheer, the greatest congratulations you can say to a writer is to tell him what you think of the book and you can’t do this if you haven’t read it. So buy yourself a copy of ‘Colours of Hatred’ and the other books on the shortlist.”