By Victor Emeruwa/ Abuja
Award winning journalist, columnist and Associate Editor at The Nation newspaper, Olukorede Yishau is among the 11 authors whose works were long-listed in this year’s NLNG Nigeria Prize for Literature.
Yishau’s debut novel, In the Name of Our Father, made the top 11 longlist from 202 books sent in for the competition.
The announcement of the much awaited longlist was announce today through a statement signed by Eyono Fatayi-Williams, NLNG General Manager, External Relations and Sustainable Development.
A shorter list of three books would be announced in September from where the winner of the $100,000 prize would emerge.
The longlist, according to the Advisory Board of the Nigeria Prize for Literature in alphabetical order of the titles are:
1.Delusion of Patriots, Obianuju V. Chukwuorji
2. Give Us Each Day, Samuel Monye
3. Imminent River, Anaele Ihuoma
4. In The Name of Our Father, Olukorede S. Yishau
5. Mountain of Yesterday, Tony Nwaka
6. Neglected, Lucy Chiamaka Okwuma
7. The Colours of Hatred, Obinna Udenwa
8. The Girl with The Louding Voice, Abi Dare
9. The Return of Half- Something, Chukwudi Eze
10.The Son of The House, Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia
11.Your Church My Shrine, Law Ikay Ezeh
According to the judges, this year’s nominations portrays a “fresh approache to looking at issues, using new and exciting narrative strategies, techniques and well-written organic plots to present topical discussions in realistic ways.”
The judges stated that there has been a visible improvement in writing skills and commended NLNG for giving writers the platform to blossom and experiment.
According to the Chairperson of the prize’s Advisory Board, Professor Akachi Adimora Ezeigbo, the Board unanimously agreed that the shortlist of 11 was an excellent list.
She expressed her appreciation to the judges for a thorough job in selecting the shortlist. She stated that excellence was the watchword of the prize, adding that the onus was on the Advisory Board to continue in the tradition that was handed to them by the last Board.
Panel of Judges for this year’s prize, Professor Toyin Jegede, who is a professor of Literature in English at the University of Ibadan. The other judges are Prof. Tanimu Abubakar and Dr Solomon Azumurana. Professor Abubakar is a Professor of Literature in the Faculty of Art, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. Dr Azumurana is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Lagos.
Profile of the most prestigious literature prize in Nigeria
The Nigeria Prize for Literature has since 2004 rewarded eminent writers such as Gabriel Okara (co-winner, 2005, poetry) for The Dreamer, His Vision; Professor Ezenwa Ohaeto, for his volume of poetry, Chants of a Minstrel (co-winner, 2005, poetry) Ahmed Yerima (2005, drama) for his classic, Hard Ground; Mabel Segun (co-winner, 2007, children’s literature) for her collection of short plays Reader’s Theatre; Professor Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo (co-winner, 2007, children’s literature) with her book, My Cousin Sammy.
Kaine Agary with her book, Yellow Yellow (2008, prose); Esiaba Irobi (2010, drama) who clinched the prize posthumously with his book Cemetery Road; Adeleke Adeyemi (2011, children’s literature) with his book The Missing Clock; Chika Unigwe (2012, prose), with her novel, On Black Sister’s Street; Tade Ipadeola (2013, poetry) with his collection of poems, The Sahara Testaments; Professor Sam Ukala (2014, drama) with his play, Iredi War.
Abubakar Adam Ibrahim with his novel Season of Crimson Blossoms (2016, prose); Ikeogu Oke with his collection of poetry, The Heresiad; (2017, poetry); Soji Cole with his play, Embers (2018, drama); and Jude Idada with his book, Boom, Boom (2019, Children Literature).
The prize runs concurrently with the Nigeria Prize for Literary Criticism (also sponsored by NLNG), 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 amongst four literary categories – prose fiction, poetry, drama, and children’s literature. A shortlist of three is expected in September. A winner, if any, will be announced by the Advisory Board.