The longlist for the 2018 Nigeria Prize for Literature has been announced.
The prize was founded in 2004, and is awarded annually to honour ‘literary erudition by Nigerian authors’. The award rotates between four genres: fiction, poetry, drama and children’s literature.
With prize money of US$100,000 (about R1,3 million), sponsored by natural gas producing company Nigeria LNG Limited, the Nigeria Prize for Literature is the richest literary award in Africa and one of the richest in the world.
This year’s prize will award a work of drama. According to the judging panel, the 2018 longlist is dominated by ‘the struggle for political control and power play’.
2018 Nigeria Prize for Literature longlist
- August Inmates by Chidubem Iweka (Kraft Books)
- Death and The King’s Grey Hair by Denja Abdullahi (Kraft Books)
- Embers by Soji Cole (Emotion Press)
- Guerrilla Post by Obari Gomba (Narrative Landscape Press)
- Majestic Revolt by Peter E Omoko (Malthouse Press)
- Melancholia by Dul Johnson (Sevhage Publishers)
- No More the Taming Hawks by Diran Ademiju-Bepo (Dynasty Tales)
- Once Upon an Elephant by Bosede Ademilua-Afolayan (Kraft Books)
- Sankara by Jude Idada (Parresia Publishing)
- The Rally by Akanji Nasiru (Kraft Books)
- Unstable by Dickson Ekhaguere (Tryspect Solutions)
A shortlist of three authors is expected in September and a possible winner will be announced by the Advisory Board for the Nigeria Prize for Literature in October.
The longlist of eleven plays was chosen from eighty-nine entries, selected by a panel of judges led by Matthew Umukoro, professor of Theatre Arts at the University of Ibadan.
Other members of the judging panel are Mohammed Inuwa Umar-Buratai, professor of Theatre and Performing Arts and the Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, and Ngozi Udengwu, senior lecturer in the Department of Theatre and Film Studies at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
The Advisory Board for the Nigeria Prize for Literature is Professor Ayo Banjo, two-time Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan; Professor Jerry Agada, former Minister of State for Education and former President of the Association of Nigerian Authors; and Professor Emeritus Ben Elugbe, former President of the Nigerian Academy of Letters and president of the West-African Linguistic Society (2004-2013).
Previous winners of the Nigeria Prize for Literature are Gabriel Okara for The Dreamer: His Vision and Ezenwa Ohaeto for Chants of Minstrel (co-winners, 2005, poetry); Ahmed Yerima for Hard Ground (2006, drama); Mabel Segun for Readers’ Theatre: Twelve Plays for Young People and Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo for My Cousin Sammy (co-winners, 2007, children’s literature); Kaine Agary for Yellow Yellow (2008, prose); Esiaba Irobi for Cemetery Road (2010, drama, posthumous); Adeleke Adeyemi for The Missing Clock (2011, children’s literature) ; Chika Unigwe for On Black Sisters’ Street (2012, prose); Tade Ipadeola for The Sahara Testaments (2013, poetry); Sam Ukala for Iredi War (2014, drama); Abubakar Adam Ibrahim for Seasons of Crimson Blossoms (2016, prose); and Ikeogu Oke for The Heresiad (2017, poetry).