December 2, 2023

A shortlist of three writers will be announced in September, while a winner will emerge in October, and be awarded a cash prize of $100,000.

By Hope Ibiale

The Nigeria Prize for Literature has announced the writers longlisted for the 2023 edition of the prestigious award. Annually, the prize recognises some of the best works released in the year of review, alternating among four literary genres: Prose Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Children’s Fiction. This year’s prize will go to drama. After reviewing the works of 143 playwrights, the panel of judges stated, “The longlist consisted of plays that unravel profound themes, each evidence of the artistry and creativity of their playwrights.”

The longlisted writers include Dance of The Sacred Feet by Ade Adeniji, Gidan Juju by Victor S. Dugga, Grit by Obari Gomba, Homecoming by Cheta Igbokwe, The Boat People by Chris Anyokwu, The Brigadiers of a Mad Tribe by Abuchi Modilim, The Ojuelegba Crossroads by Abideen Abolaji Ojomu, The Spellbinder by Bode Sowande, When Big Masquerades Dance Naked by Olubunmi Familoni, Where Is Patient Zero by Olatunbosun Taofeek, and Yamtarawala, The Warrior King by Henry Akubuiro.

A shortlist of three writers will be announced in September, while a winner will emerge in October, and be awarded a cash prize of $100,000.

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(Read also: Book O’Clock Launches Atipo Book Review Prize)

While commenting on the longlist, the Board’s chairperson, Professor Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo, said, “The longlist of 11 is a manifestation of the relentless scrutiny and unwavering dedication invested in the pursuit of true dramatic excellence by the judges.“ She also commended the playwrights on the longlist, adding that they have emerged as “beacons of distinction in the annals of the literary world in Nigeria.”

The Nigeria Prize for Literature made a debut in the literary scene in 2004 alongside its counterpart, the Nigeria Prize for Science. Inaugurated by the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG), the concept of the prize was centered on the belief that it would improve the quality of writing, editing, proofreading, and publishing in Nigeria. The NLNG Prize for Literature (also known as the Nigeria Prize for Literature) annually honours a published book by a Nigerian writer in a specific genre under review. The prize was initially $20,000 each in Literature and Science. This was increased to $30,000 in 2006, and again to $50,000 in 2008. In 2011 the prize was increased to $100,000, making it one of the world’s richest prizes.

This year’s panel of judges includes Ameh Dennis Akoh, a Professor of Drama and Critical Theory at the Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ebonyi State. Other panel members include Professor Osita Catherine Ezenwanebe, and Dr. Rasheedah Liman.


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