At the Freedom Park in Lagos today, the Committee of Relevant Arts hosted a few of the longlisted writers for the Nigerian Prize for Literature (sponsored by the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas: NLNG). I dropped by for a good old fraternizing with the writer community, and came back with these few pictures.

The venue itself, now named Freedom Park, was an old colonial prison where famous inmates like Chief Obafemi Awolowo, and Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka spent some time in the early years of Nigerian independence. Across from the “Kongi’s Harvest Gallery” where the event was held stood a stage now used for musical/dramatic performance. According to Jahman Anikulapo (the head of CORA), that used to be a hanging scaffolding for the condemned inmates of the prison. Gleaming in the evening sun from afar, it now stands as a grim reminder of the constant presence of a not too distant past and the constant struggle for freedom and expression.

Present at the reading were some of the longlisted writers: Jude Dibia, Tricia Adaobi Nwaubani, Lola Shoneyin, Steve Shaba (a publisher), and Onuora Nzekwu (the author of Eze Goes to School). Other writers spotted there include Ayodeji Arigbabu also from Dada Books. The reading session was moderated by Deji Toye.

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