Abi Daré, Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia, and Obinna Udenwa are on the shortlist for the NLNG Nigeria Prize for Literature 2021 announced on Friday, August 27, 2021.

The Nigerian 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 genre is focus for 2021 is fiction.

The longlist of 11 books was announced on June 4 before this panel revealed the shortlist. They are;

  • The Colours of Hatred, Obinna Udenwa
  • The Girl with The Louding Voice, Abi Dare
  • The Son of The House, Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia

The judges, in their report, described the novels as full of suspense and intrigue. They stated that the novels “tell human and indeed universal stories of rural as against urban life, suffering and survival, loss and redemption, decline and renaissance, destruction and reconstruction, and death and rebirth.”

The winner will be announced by the Advisory Board in October.