From now till October 3, 2013, probably what could be occupying the minds of the eleven writers in contention for this years’ NLNG The Nigeria Prize for Literature is to wish for a smile of fortune. Only three writers will make the final shortlist, which will make their dream more feasible to grab the coveted $100,000 prize, the most expensive literary prize in Africa.
The 11 writers on the initial NLNG longlist released this week by the the Panel of Judges headed by Professor Romanus Egudu include:
Afam Akeh – Letter Home and Biafran Nights
Amatoritsero Ede – Globetrotters and Hitler’s Children
Ebinyo Ogbewei –Marsh Boy and Other Poems
Iquo Eke –Symphony of Becoming
Obari Gomba –Length of Eyes
Tade Ipadeola –The Sahara Testaments
Okinba Launko (Femi Osofisan) Seven Stations Up the Stairways
Obi Nwakanma –Birthcry
Promise Ogochukwu –Wild Letters
Remi Raji –Sea of My Mind
The list, informed the NLNG General Manager, External Relations, Kudo Eresia-Eke, was arrived at after three months of intensive scrutiny by the panel of judges, which includes Prof. Molara Ogundipe and Dr. Andrew Aba. The Advisory Board, led by Emeritus Professor, Ayo Banjo, said the final shortlist will be released soon.
Past winners of the prize include Gabriel Okara and Ezenwa Ohaeto (2004), Ahmed Yerima (2005), Mabel Segun and Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo (2007), Kaine Agary (2008), Esiaba Irobi (2010), Adeleke Adeyemi (2011) and Chika Unigwe (2012).
The Nigeria Prize for Literature rotates annually among the genres of prose fiction, poetry, drama and children’s literature. It is part of the numerous NLNG’s corporate responsibility.
Afam Akeh, author of Stolen Moments (1988) and the collection of poems, Letter Home, is the editor of the magazine, African Writing. His poem “Nectar” won the 2nd prize in the BBC Arts for Africa Competition (1988). Former editor, Daily Times Literary Supplement, he lives in the UK.
Amatoritsero Ede is a Nigerian-Canadian poet. In 1998, he won the All-Africa Christopher Okigbo Prize for Literature with his first collection of poems, Caribbean Blues: A writer’s Pains. He has worked as a book editor with Spectrum Books. He is a SSHRC Fellow and Doctoral Candidate in English literature at Carleton University, Ottawa.
Gilbert ‘Ebinyo Ogbowei lectures in the Department of English and Literary Studies, Niger Delta University, Wilberforce Island, Bayelsa State. He is the author of four collections of poetry: let the honey run and other poems (2001, shortlisted for 2005 NLNG Nigeria Prize for Literature), the town crier’s son (2003), the heedless ballot box (2006, joint winner, ANA Bayelsa Isaac Adaka Boro Prize for Niger Delta Literature 2008) and song of a dying river (shortlisted for The 2009 NLNG prize).
Remi Raji’s.volumes of poetry include Webs of Remembrance (2001), Shuttlesongs America: A poetic guided tour (2003), Lovesong for My Wasteland (2005), Gather My Blood Rivers of Song (2009) and “Sea of My Mind” (2013). His works have been translated into French, German, Catalan, Swedish, Ukrainian, Croatian and Hungarian. He has been an Alexander von Humboldt Scholar to Humboldt University, Germany” Berlin, Germany. He is a professor of English and African Literatures and Creative Writing at the University of Ibadan and the President, Association of Nigerian Authors.
Ogochukwu Promise is a novelist, a poet, a playwright, an essayist and a motivational speaker. Runner-up for the 2005 the NLNG Prize for Literature, she has won the 2005 ANA/Flora Nwapa Prize for Literature, First Pat Utomi Book Prize (2005), 2002 ANA/ NDDC Ken Saro-Wiwa Prize for Literature, 2003ANA/ NDDC Flora Nwapa price for Literature, 2000 ANA/Spectrum Prize for Literature, 2000 ANA/Okigbo prize for Poetry in Africa, 1999 ANA/Cadbury Prize for Poetry and the 1999 ANA/Spectrum Prize for Literature, among others.
Femi Osofisan is a prolific playwright, poet and literary critic. A multiple award-winner, he is the author of the classics, including Morountodun and Other Plays, Another Raft, The Chattering and the Song, Once Upon Four Robbers, Tegoni: An African Antigone, Minted Coins, among others. He was runner-up for the 2006 NLNG Prize.
Obi Nwakanma is a poet, journalist, biographer and literary critic. He is the author Thirsting for Sunlight, biography of the tragic modernist poet, Christopher Okigbo, and The Horsemen & Other Poems, a collection of poems. Nwakanma’s first collection of poems, The Roped Urn, was awarded the Cadbury Prize in 1996 by ANA. His poetry has been translated into Spanish, Dutch, German, and Turkish. Nwakanma lives in the US.
Tade Ipadeola is the author of two volumes of poetry – A Time of Signs (2000) and The Rain Fardel (2005). He has also published short stories and essays. In 2009, he won the Delphic Laurel in poetry with his poem ‘Songbird’ in Jeju, South Korea. A lawyer, he lives in Ibadan.