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Power, politics dominate NLNG’s 2018 literature prize list


The struggle for political control and power-play is playing a dominant role in the long list for the $100,000 Nigeria Prize for Literature announced yesterday and sponsored by the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG).

The 2018 list of 11 plays chosen from 89 entries was selected by a panel of three judges headed by Matthew Umukoro, a professor of Theatre Arts at the University of Ibadan (UI).

Other members of the panel are Mohammed Inuwa Umar-Buratai, professor of Theatre and Performing Arts and Dean, Faculty of Arts at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria and Ngozi Udengwu, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Theatre and Film Studies at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN).


The Professor Ayo Banjo-led Advisory Board appointed the Umukoro panel in February 2018 for the award, which had been administering the prize on behalf of the NLNG since 2010. The judges received entries for the 2018 prize in April.

The list for this year’s prize include: August Inmates by Chidubem Iweka, Death and The King’s Grey Hair by Denja Abdullahi, Embers by Soji Cole, Guerrilla Post by Obari Gomba and Majestic Revolt by Peter E. Omoko.

Others are Melancholia by Dul Johnson, No More the Taming Hawks by Diran Ademiju-Bepo, Once Upon an Elephant by Bosede Ademilua-Afolayan, Sankara by Jude Idada, The Rally by Akanji Nasiru and Unstable by Dickson Ekhaguere.

A shortlist of three is expected in September, while the Advisory Board will announce a possible winner in October.

Besides Banjo, other members of the Advisory Board for the Literature Prize are Professor Jerry Agada, a former Minister of State for Education, former President, Association of Nigerian Authors and Professor Emeritus, Ben Elugbe, former President of the Nigerian Academy of Letters and West African Linguistic Society (2004-2013).

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