At book soiree, NLNG, CORA commit to standard
Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG) and the Committee for Relevant Arts (CORA) have reiterate commitment to promoting excellence and creativity, and to project outstanding books to Nigerians and the world.
The two agencies made this commitment last Sunday, in Lagos, at a book party in honour of the longlist of 11 playwrights for The Nigeria Prize for Literature (NPL) 2023.
The party featured readings from the longlisted plays and a panel session with the playwrights who participated in person or virtually.
In the last 19 years, NPL alone has received over 2,400 entries to date in the four genres and many of them are top quality entries.
Over $1 million have also been given, as prize money to the winners since the awards began, while drama, now in its fifth circle, is the only genre that has produced winners since the contest began.
The General Manager, External Relations and Sustainable Development at NLNG, Mr Andy Odeh, said the yearly book party brings NLNG, the sponsor of the prize, together with the literary community to promote excellence and creativity, and to project outstanding books to Nigerians and the world.
“Nineteen years of successful administration have produced 17 winning works, and over $1 million has been won. This prize stands out as the biggest and most prestigious literary prize in Africa, and one of the world’s biggest and most reputable. We are happy that today presents an opportunity to interact with these 11 playwrights. We are just two steps away from announcing the winner of the $100,000 prize in October.
“We instituted The Nigeria Prize for Literature, because we were concerned that standards of reading, writing, editing, proof-reading and publishing were drastically falling in Nigeria, a country that largely founded and dominated the African Writers Series; a country that is also known to have produced reputable writers and winning works. Today, we are glad that Nigeria can showcase great literary works published in Nigeria. Great works by Nigerian writers have enriched our library and bookshelves. The Nigeria Prize for Literature alone has received over 2,400 entries in the four genres, many of which are top-quality entries,” Odeh said.
In his speech, Ropo Ewenla, a member of the CORA Board, stated the idea of a book party sprung from a review of the prize in 2010 when some argued that stakeholders should do more for the publishing industry.
He said CORA came up with the book reading event to create an opportunity for the authors to discuss their books with the audience, adding that nothing beats a book reading.
He stated further that the prize money of $100,000 makes the competition one of the most keenly contested literary prizes in the world. Still, he added that writers primarily want to distinguish themselves with their writing and be recognised.
Playwrights on the longlist, who attended the event include, Victor S. Dugga (Gidan Juju), Obari Gomba (Grit), Cheta Igbokwe (Home Coming), Christopher Anyokwu (The Boat People) and Abuchi Modilim (The Brigadiers of a Mad Tribe).
Other authors who attended were Olubunmi Familoni (When Big Masquerades Dance Naked), Olatunbosun Taofeek (Where Is Patient Zero) and Henry Akubuiro (Yamtarawala – The Warrior King).
Abideen Abolaji Ojomu (Ojuelegba Crossroads), Ade Adeniji (Dance of The Sacred Feet) and Bode Sowande (The Spellbinder) joined the panel session virtually.
The 11 entries were selected out of 143 for this year’s prize round, which is focused on drama. The winning entry will be announced in October 2023.
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