Abubakar Ibrahim wins Nigeria Prize for Literature
The author of Season of Crimson Blossoms, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, has won this year’s edition of the Nigeria Prize for Literature worth $100,000 (about N46 million).
Ibrahim, a journalist, beat two others, Dr. Chika Unigwe and Mr. Elnathan John, whose novels are Night Dancer and Born on a Tuesday, to win the biggest literary prize in Africa.
The advisory board of the prize sponsored by the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) announced Ibrahim as winner after a nine-month process of assessment. The announcement was made by the Chairman of the board, Emeritus Prof. Ayo Banjo at a press conference in Lagos. Ibrahim’s novel, Season of Crimson Blossoms emerged winner from among 172 other entries received for the competition.
According to Banjo, “It was a strong field this year. The shortlisted entries were very strong and the board had no difficulty in accepting the recommendation of the panel of judges, considering the subject matter and competent manner in which Ibrahim demonstrated the execution of his work.”
While reacting to the verdict, the General Manager, External Relations at NLNG, Dr. Kudo Eresia-Eke, said: “It has been a very rigorous process and we are very happy that at the end of the day, both the international consultant and the panel of judges came to an alignment. We are very proud of the quality of entries received. Let me reiterate very clearly that we will continue to support integrity and excellence, which are some of the pillars on which we have built NLNG’s success as a company.”
The decision on the winning entry of the Nigeria Prize for Literature was reached by a panel of judges, led by a well-respected literary critic and professor of Literature in English, Dan Izevbaye, professor of Oral and African Literatures at Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, Asabe Usman Kabir and first winner of the Nigeria Prize for Literary Criticism and professor of African Literature in the Department of English, Imo State University, Owerri, Isidore Diala. The international consultant, Prof. Kojo Senanu of the University of Legon, is an internationally acclaimed scholar.
The panel had, through the advisory board, released a shortlist of 11 in July 2016 and later, a shortlist of three in September 2016. The three shortlisted entries, in alphabetic order, were Born on a Tuesday (Elnathan John), Night Dancer (Chika Unigwe) and Season of Crimson Blossoms (Abubakar Adam Ibrahim).
Members of the board, besides Banjo, are former Minister of State for Education and erstwhile President of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Prof. Jerry Agada, and ex-President of the Nigerian Academy of Letters and the President of West-African Linguistic Society (2004-2013), Emeritus Prof. Ben Elugbe.