The longlist for the NLNG Nigeria Prize for Literature 2021, the richest on the continent, was announced on Sunday, July 4, 2021.
The Nigeria Prize for Literature, sponsored annually by oil firm NLNG, was started in 2004 to honour Nigerian authors in the four genres of fiction, poetry, drama and children’s literature. The prize worth US$100,000 makes it the richest in African letters today. Over the last few years, winners have been Jude Idada (2019), Soji Cole (2018), Ikeogu Oke (2017), Abubakar Adam Ibrahim (2016), Sam Ukala (2014), Tade Ipadeola (2013), and Chika Unigwe (2012). The 2020 edition of the prize was postponed as a result of the global pandemic which disrupted both economic and social life.
The judging panel for 2021 is led by the Chairman Professor Toyin Jegede, who is a professor of Literature in English at the University of Ibadan. The other judges are Prof. Tanimu Abubakar and Dr Solomon Azumurana. Professor Abubakar is a Professor of Literature in the Faculty of Art, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. Dr Azumurana is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Lagos.
The shortlist of 11 books this panel announced, in alphabetical order by the title of the book, are:
- Delusion of Patriots, Obianuju V. Chukwuorji
- Give Us Each Day, Samuel Monye
- Imminent River, Anaele Ihuoma
- In The Name of Our Father, Olukorede S. Yishau
- Mountain of Yesterday, Tony Nwaka
- Neglected, Lucy Chiamaka Okwuma
- The Colours of Hatred, Obinna Udenwa
- The Girl with The Louding Voice, Abi Dare
- The Return of Half- Something, Chukwudi Eze
- The Son of The House, Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia
- Your Church My Shrine, Law Ikay Ezeh
The judges described the shortlist 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. The judges stated that there has been a visible improvement in writing skills and commended NLNG for giving writers the platform to blossom and experiment.
A shortlist of three is expected in September and a winner, if any, will be announced by the Advisory Board in October.