Ogaga Ifowodo, Ikeogu Oke, and Tanure Ojaide are the three poets in the shortlist for the Nigeria Prize for Literature 2017.
The richest prize in African literature worth US$100,000 to its winner has announced those who are shortlisted for this year’s edition. The three poetry collections have been listed from the long list announced in July and include A Good Mourning by Ogaga Ifowodo, Songs of myself: Quartet, Tanure Ojaide, and The Heresiad by Ikeogu Oke.
The Chairman of the Panel of Judges for this year’s Nigeria Prize for Literature is Prof Ernest Emenyonu, professor of Africana Studies at the University of Michigan-Flint, USA. Other judges 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.
A Good Mourning, published by Parresia Books, is Ogaga Ifowodo’s fourth volume of poetry. It focuses on the tragedy, ambiguity and contradictions of human experience recreated from poetic vision and language. Ogaga is a lawyer, scholar, poet, and development activist. He holds a doctorate in English (post-colonial literary/cultural studies) and a Master of Art in Poetry from Cornell University, USA.
Songs of myself: Quartet, written by Tanure Ojaide and published by Kraft Books Ltd, explores paradoxes in contemporary times presented in discursive lyricism. It reflects the journey to the deepest vicissitudes of the adventurer himself. Ojaide is a Fellow in Writing of the University of Iowa. He has won several awards including the Commonwealth Poetry Prize for the Africa Region, the All-Africa Okigbo Prize for Poetry, the BBC Arts and Africa Poetry Award and the Association of Nigerian Authors Poetry Award.
Ikeogu Oke’s The Heresiad, published by Kraft Books Ltd, employs the epic form in questioning power and freedom. It probes metaphorically the inner workings of societies and those who shape them. Ikeogu is a writer, poet and journalist. He studied at the Universities of Ibadan and Nigeria. His creative works include Salutes Without Guns, The Tortoise and the Princess, The Lion and the Monkey, In the Wings of Waiting and Where I was Born.
The winner of the competition will be announced at a World Press Conference in October, 2017.