Out of the total of 173 entries received for the NLNG-sponsored Nigerian Literature Prize 2016, a shortlist of three has been released. This announcement follows an initial shortlist of eleven which was released in July. The three shortlisted entries, in alphabetic order, are:
- Born on a Tuesday (Elnathan John)
- Night Dancer (Chika Unigwe), and
- Season of Crimson Blossoms (Abubakar Adam Ibrahim).
Born on a Tuesday, published by Parresia Books, is a story about contemporary northern Nigeria which has over the years experienced religious violence and carnage as seen through the eyes of a young man. Born on a Tuesday is Elnathan John’s first novel. John is a writer, lawyer and a Civitella Ranieri Fellow. He has also been shortlisted twice by the Caine Prize for African Writing.
Chika Unigwe’s Night Dancer, published by Jonathan Cape, focusses on the young protagonist’s search for identity and her consequent reappraisal of her mother’s values. This is Chika Unigwe’s second time on the fiction shortlist. She won in 2012 with her novel On Black Sisters’ Street. Unigwe sits on the Board of Trustees of pan-African literary initiative Writivism, and was recently appointed a judge for the Man Booker Prize, 2017.
Season of Crimson Blossoms is a novel set in conservative northern Nigeria. It focusses on unusual love affairs between characters, as well as ambiguities in religion and politics. Published by Cassava Republic Press, Season of Crimson Blossoms is Ibrahim’s debut novel. Ibrahim has won the BBC African Performance Prize and the Amatu Braide Prize for Prose. He is a Gabriel Garcia Marquez Fellow (2013) and a Civitella Ranieri Fellow (2015).
“The Nigeria Prize for Literature has since 2004 rewarded eminent writers such as Gabriel Okara for his volume of poetry, The Dreamer, His Vision (co-winner 2005 – poetry); Professor Ezenwa Ohaeto, for his volume of poetry, Chants of a Minstrel (co-winner 2005 poetry); Ahmed Yerima (2006 – drama) for his book Hard Ground; Mabel Segun (co-winner 2007 – children’s literature) for her collection of short plays Reader’s Theatre; Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo (co-winner 2007 – children’s literature) with her book, My Cousin Sammy; Kaine Agary (2008 – prose) for her novel Yellow Yellow; Esiaba Irobi (2010 – drama) who won the prize posthumously with his book Cemetery Road; Adeleke Adeyemi (2011 – children’s literature) with his book The Missing Clock and Chika Unigwe (2012 – prose), with her novel, On Black Sisters’ Street, Tade Ipadeola (2013 – poetry) with his collection of poems, The Sahara Testaments and Sam Ukala (2014-drama) with his play, Iredi War.”
The eventual winner of the competition will be announced at a World Press Conference in October, 2016.
Congrats to the shortlisted writers.
Photo Credit: Bookslive.co.za, GuardianUK, PulseNG