Sylva Nze Ifedigbo was declared the winner of the Chinua Achebe Prize for Literature 2023 on October 29, 2022. Su’eddie Vershima Agema also won the Association of Nigerian Authors Poetry Prize.
Chinua Achebe was the author of Things Fall Apart (1958) the most well-read novel written by an African. His other novels were 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.
In 2021, the Association of Nigerian Authors unveiled the Chinua Achebe Prize for Nigerian Writing to be awarded to the best novel published by a Nigerian writer in each calendar year. It was given an endowment by Anambra State, Achebe’s home state, for 1,000,000 Naira prize money; it was awarded to the first winner Obinna Udenwe.
The jury for 2022 featured Prof Razinat T. Mohammed, the Head of Department of English at the University of Abuja, and James Tar Tsaaior, Professor of English, Media and Cultural Studies & Senior Associate Research Fellow at the Department of English University of the Free State Bloemfontein, South Africa. The shortlist for the awards was announced on October 20.
The winner was announced to be Sylva Nze Ifedigbo for his novel Believers and Hustlers published by Parresia Publishers. His response on Twitter was simply, “We won something. #BelieversAndHustlers”
Su’eddie Vershima Agema also won the Association of Nigerian Authors Poetry Prize for Memory And The Call of Waters published by Amazon Digital Services LLC – Kdp. In his remarks, Agema said, “Thanks to everyone who has supported this continuing journey and a shoutout to everyone on the shortlist especially my big brothers Obari Gomba and Kabura Zakama, for their lovely works.”