Nigerian authors from across the country and beyond its shores have submitted a total one hundred and seventy-three (173) entries for Nigeria LNG-sponsored Nigeria Prize for Literature, which focuses on the Prose Fiction genre this year.
The entries came in response to a call for entry which was published in February 2016. Considered Africa’s most prestigious literary award, a hundred thousand Dollars ($100, 000) will be again be up for grabs in perhaps the fiercest genre in the prize history.
The entries were handed over to the panel of judges by the Emeritus Professor Ayo Banjo Advisory Board for Literature. Other members of the Advisory Board are Emeritus Professor Ben Elugbe and Professor Jerry Agada. The panel of judges is led by Professor Dan Izevbaye, a professor of English Language, at Bowen University, Iwo. Other members of the panel of judges include Professor Asabe Usman Kabir, Professor of Oral and African Literatures at Usman Danfodiyo University Sokoto and Professor Isidore Diala, a professor of African Literature at Imo State University, Owerri and first winner of the award for Literary Criticism. The International Consultant is Professor Kojo Senanu, Professor of English at the University of Legon. Submissions are steadily pruned based on a number of considerations, among them, editorial excellence, creativity and story plot, with the aim that a final winner may emerge at a public announcement normally holding in October each year, to coincide with the anniversary of the first shipment of LNG cargo by NLNG.
According to Kudo Eresia-Eke, NLNG’s General Manager, External Relations, “I will like to remind the judges of what we have achieved over the last 12 years since this prize started. We have established excellence and this we are known for. Judges have come and gone and they have outclassed themselves by making sure that the winner is crowned based on merit and quality. You, as judges, will continue this tradition and extend the quality of this prize further.”
The last winner of the literature prize in the Prose Fiction category was Chika Unigwe in 2012 who beat 213 authors to the prize with her book On Black Sisters’ Street.
This year’s award for prose fiction will run concurrently with NLNG’s prize for literary criticism for which only two entries were received. Introduced in 2013, the literary criticism prize is a yearly award and carries a monetary value of N1 million.