Ibironke Sanwo-olu, Lagos state first lady presents the cheque of N1m to Vivian Onyekachi Ibe, with Gbemi Shasore, and Toni Kan

Vivian Onyekachi Ibe was announced the winner of the Quramo Writers’ Prize 2019 for her manuscript What Dreams are Made of in Lagos, Nigeria on December 15, 2019.

The Quramo Writers’ Prize is an award celebrating unpublished writers who are working every day to hone their craft and record the continent’s original stories. Founded in 2017 by Quramo Publishers for Nigerian writers, it aimed to encourage and stimulate a new community of talented writers, providing an opportunity for otherwise unexposed talent to achieve publishing recognition and encouragement. Previous winners were Samuel Monye (2017) and Michael Emmanuel (2018).

In 2019, the Quramo Writers’ Prize was opened to Africans living within and outside the continent. After a callout made in May, the finalists were announced in November with fifteen writers in the running for the prize judged by Toni Kan (chair), Molara Wood, and A. Igoni Barrett.

The winner of the prize, revealed at a ceremony at the Q Fest in Lagos, is Vivian Onyekachi Ibe for her manuscript What Dreams are Made of.  Second place went to Joan Wawira Thatiah in second place for her manuscript Guilty and third place went to Jaiyeola Temitayo Tomiwa for his entry, You will be Fine’ with.

Oluremi Hamzat, Ibironke Sanwo-olu, Vivian Onyekachi Ibe, Gbemi Shasore, Toni Kan, Molara Wood and Igoni Barrett
Oluremi Hamzat, Ibironke Sanwo-olu, Vivian Onyekachi Ibe, Gbemi Shasore, Toni Kan, Molara Wood and A Igoni Barrett

The judge’s citation described the winning entry “as an assured and astute work of fiction from a writer whose sensibility is popular without veering into the superficial… Our winning entry is a fast-paced, action-packed thriller with great characterization, and dollops of wit and humour. It will find legions of readers and spark urgent conversations especially among the millennials and so ultimately expand the universe of the prize.”

Responding to her win, Vivian Onyekachi Ibe said “I am honestly overwhelmed by the outcome because I really didn’t expect it. My intention was to just come around and congratulate the winner.”

The winner of the Quramo Writers Prize goes home with a cash prize of one million naira and the possibility of a Quramo book publishing deal. The cheque was handed out to the winner by Lagos State First Lady Ibironke Sanwo-olu.