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11 writers vie for $100,000 literature prize

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The Nigeria Prize for Literature

The Advisory Board for The Nigeria Prize for Literature, yesterday, announced a shortlist of 11 drawn from 202 books in the running for the 2021 edition of the award.

The list was presented by the chairman, panel of judges for this year’s prize, Prof. Toyin Jegede, a professor of Literature in English at the University of Ibadan. The other jurists are Prof. Tanimu Abubakar and Dr. Solomon Azumurana.

Abubakar is a professor of Literature in the Faculty of Art, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, while Azumurana is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Lagos.

The books on the shortlist, in alphabetical order by their titles are: Delusion of Patriots by Obianuju V. Chukwuorji; Give Us Each Day by Samuel Monye; Imminent River by Anaele Ihuoma; In The Name of Our Father by Olukorede S. Yishau and Mountain of Yesterday by Tony Nwaka.

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Others include Neglected (Lucy Chiamaka Okwuma); The Colours of Hatred (Obinna Udenwa); The Girl with The Louding Voice (Abi Dare); The Return of Half- Something (Chukwudi Eze); The Son of The House by Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia and Your Church My Shrine by Law Ikay Ezeh

The judges stated that there has been a visible improvement in writing skills and commended the Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG) for providing writers with the platform to excel and experiment.

As in the past, the award, Africa’s biggest reward for creative excellence, will be keenly contested.

They described the shortlist as fresh approaches to looking at issues, using new and exciting narrative strategies, techniques and well-written organic plots to present topical discussions in realistic ways.

According to the chairperson of the prize’s Advisory Board, Prof. Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo, the body unanimously agreed that the shortlist of 11 was an excellent list.

She expressed her appreciation to the judges for a thorough selection process.

The NLNG sponsors the literature prize with a cash award of $100,000. The award runs concurrently with the Nigeria Prize for Literary Criticism (also sponsored by the company), for which four entries were received in 2020. The literary criticism prize carries a monetary value of N1 million.

The Nigeria Prize for Literature rotates yearly among four literary categories – prose fiction, poetry, drama and children’s literature.

A shortlist of three is expected in September. The Advisory Board, if any, will announce a winner in October.

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