The Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature 2018 longlist has been announced with nine poets in the running.
The Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature, worth US$10,000, is awarded every two years to the best book written by an African in any of the literary genres. Previous winners of the prize include Sefi Atta for Everything Good Will Come in 2006 and Nnedi Okorafor, Zahrah the Windseeker in 2008. In 2010, Kopano Matlwa (Coconut) and Wale Okediran (Tenants of The House) shared the honours while Sifiso Mzobe won it in 2012 for Young Blood. Akin Bello would take the honours in 2014 for his play The Egbon of Lagos.
This year the prize is being judged by a jury chaired by Margaret Busby who previously chaired the Caine Prize for African Writing and the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature. She is supported by University of Texas’ Professor Toyin Falola, author of A Month Sweeter than Salt and the Lagos-based international literary scholar, Olu Obafemi.
This year’s edition of the prize is for poetry and there were 110 submissions from 11 countries on the continent, including Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, and Rwanda. The poets who made the longlist and their collections are:
- Dami Ajayi – Clinical Blues.
- Servio Gbadamosi – A Tributary in Servitude.
- Tanure Ojaide – Songs of Myself.
- Harriet Anena- A Nation in Labour.
- Iquo Eke- Symphony of Becoming.
- Hyinus Ekwuazi – One Day, I‘ll Dare to Raise My Middle Finger at the Stark and the Reaper.
- Su’eddie Vershima Agema- Home Equals Holes- Tale of An Exile,
- Abayomi Animashaun- Sailing for Ithaca.
- Taiwo Dominic – Heaven on Earth- A Harvest of Poems.
The short-list of three will be announced at a press conference in Lagos, Nigeria on November 21 and the winner declared on December 9, 2018.