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Anambra endows Achebe Prize for Nigerian Writing

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Chinua Achebe

As part of activities to mark the 40th anniversary of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), which one of Africa’s greatest novelists, Chinua Achebe, founded at the University of Nigeria at Nsukka, the Anambra State government has endowed an N1 million worth Chinua Achebe Prize for Nigerian Writing.

The Prize is to be administered by ANA founded in 1981.

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The state Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, C. Don Adinuba, made the endowment known in Awka, the Anambra State capital, recently, while speaking with journalists.

Adinuba reported Governor Willie Obiano as stressing that Achebe deserves celebration not only in his native Anambra State but also all over Nigeria, Africa and the world as the globally acclaimed “father of African literature.”

By instituting the Prize, the Anambra State government is the first state government in Nigeria to honour a writer.

The Chinua Achebe Prize for Nigerian Writing will be awarded to the best novel published by a Nigerian writer in each calendar year.

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The prize will be distinctive from the usually awarded ANA Fiction Prize, ANA Poetry Prize, ANA Drama Prize etc in that it will draw entries from distinguished publishers in Nigeria, Africa and the world.

The Nigerian Diaspora that rates quite high on the literary front will, through the Prize, identify strongly with the home front.

Achebe blazed a trail in world literature when he published the classic, Things Fall Apart, on June 17, 1958, at barely 27 years of age. The novel has since been translated to well over 60 languages and ignited a boom in African writing. The other novels of Achebe are No Longer At Ease, Arrow of God, A Man of the People and Anthills of the Savannah.

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Camilus Uka, the ANA president, commended Governor Obiano for the honour to Achebe.

“In an era of crass philistinism in Nigeria,” he said, “it is reassuring that there are top government officials like Chief Obiano who appreciate ideas, letters and culture.”

He said that the governor’s gesture has galvanised ANA to consider holding a meeting in Awka to mark the association’s 40th anniversary as it has already done in some Nigerian cities.

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