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2022 Shortlist For NLNG Prize For Literature

The shortlist for the NLNG Nigeria Prize for Literature 2022, which is the richest literary award on the continent, has been announced earlier in August.

The Nigeria Prize for Literature sponsored by an oil firm Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG), is a Nigerian literary award given annually since 2004 to honor literary erudition by Nigerian authors. The award rotates among four genres; fiction, poetry, drama and children’s literature, repeating the cycle every four years. With the total prize value of US$100,000 to individual winner, it is the biggest literary award in Africa and one of the richest literary awards in the world

Over the last few years, winners have been Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia (2021), Jude Idada (2019), Soji Cole (2018), Ikeogu Oke (2017), Abubakar Adam Ibrahim (2016), Sam Ukala (2014), Tade Ipadeola (2013), and Chika Unigwe (2012).

The judging panel for 2022 is Prof. Sule Emmanuel Egya (Chairman), Toyin Adewale-Gabriel, and Dike Chukwumerije. The advisory board includes previous winner Prof Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo (Chair); Prof. Olu Bafemi, and Prof. Ahmed Yerima.

This year, the prize focus is on poetry and those on the shortlist for the award were revealed by Prof Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo earlier in August. Selected from 11 longlist entries, the collections includes;

Memory and the Call of Water, Su’eddie Vershima Agema – In this collection, there is a consistent use of memory to reflect on life and destiny through the metaphor of water.

Nomad, Romeo Oriogun – The collection has a fresh language and a nostalgic engagement with the themes of exile and displacement.

Your Crib, My Qibla, Saddiq Dzukogi – This volume translates tragedy into lyrical poetry with pathos and effortless imagery.

The 2022 shortlist came with a new dawn since the inception of the prize in 2004. This shows that the future is a promising one for the contemporary Nigerian literature as the younger generation of writers are thriving and also being fully acknowledged.

Agema wrote that he is “excited to be on this list with my brothers, Romeo and Saddiq, who I love dearly and with whom, I have walked many literary paths.” He called it “a win on many fronts,” saying, “I am humbled that we are the faces around which this spectacular story is being told.”

“I am stunned and so happy to know that my collection, Nomad, is on the shortlist for the US$100,000 Nigeria NLNG Prize for Literature,” wrote Oriogun on Facebook. “I began this book at the Seme Border, wishing my homeland goodbye, carrying into exile stories, the ruins of places, and hope, always hope. I am also so fucking happy to be on the shortlist with Saddiq and Su, poets from my generation.

“For Nigeria, this is such good news,” Oriogun said, “an omen that we are finally coming into the shadows of those who came before us.”

Dzukogi wrote, “Su’eddie, Romeo, one of us is about to be $100,000 rich!!!!! I am honored to be standing alongside you— you all deserve this! It’s good morning for Nigerian poetry!

Prof Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo reported that Susan Nalugwa Kiguli, a Ugandan poet and an associate professor of literature at Makerere University, will write reviews of the three books on the shortlist.

Whereas a winner will emerge among the three shortlisted poets by October and will take home a whooping sum of US$100,000.

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