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Expectations high as race for 2019 NPL begins

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THE race for 2019 The Nigeria Prize for Literature and The Literary Criticism Prize sponsored by Nigeria LNG (NLNG) Limited, is underway.

The Advisory Board for the prizes comprising Emeritus Professors Ayo Banjo and Ben Elugbe as well as Professor Jerry Agada have asked interested writers to submit entries.

The Literature Prize now in its 15th year comes with a cash prize of $100, 000 while the Literary Criticism Prize has N1 million as a cash reward.

The Literature Prize which honours the author of the best book by a Nigerian rotates among four literary genres, namely prose fiction, poetry, drama and children’s literature. The 2019 edition will be for children’s literature.

The Literary Criticism Prize, on the other hand, will receive critical essays on new writings in Nigerian Literature. Submission of entries for both prizes will close on April 5, 2019.

Poet, editor and translator, ObododinmaOha will chair the panel of judges for the Literature and the Literary Criticism competition. The professor of Semiotics, Stylistics, and Creative Writing at the Department of English, University of Ibadan, will be joined by Asabe Usman Kabir and Patrick Okolo.

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Kabir is a professor of Oral and African Literature at UsmanuDanfodiyo University, Sokoto while Dr Okolo is a senior lecturer at the University of Lagos Nigeria with specialisation in African postcolonial literature, gender and cultural studies.

The winners of the Literature and Literary Criticism prizes will be announced at an award ceremony in October 2019, to commemorate the anniversary of the first LNG export from the NLNG’s Plant on October 9, 1999.

Explaining the company’s support for literature at the 2018 award ceremony last October, Managing Director of the NLNG, Tony Attah, said that the company had observed for decades that, “Nigerian writers had collectively lamented the fate of the literary industry. They were unhappy with the declining levels of education and literacy, unhappy with the loss of a reading culture, and for good reasons; sad that writing and publishing in a nation that gave the African continent its first crop of literary giants had all but become a lost art.

“Taking cognisance of these concerns, NLNG began to explore options of instituting a literary prize, because significant literary prizes are widely seen as a first step on the road to recovery for literature as they serve both as a celebration of literature and writers.   This was a unique opportunity to effect beneficial change using the literature prize as a vehicle.”

While Dr Soji Cole of the University of Ibadan won the last prize awarded for drama with ‘Embers’, professor of African Literature at Imo State University, Owerri, Isidore Diala, took home the Literary Criticism Prize.

Past winners of the Prize for Literature include the late IkeoguOke (The Heresiad); Abubakar Adam Ibrahim (Season of Crimson Blossoms); Sam Ukala (Iredi War); TadeIpadeola (Sahara Testaments) and Chika Unigwe (On Black Sister’s Street).

Others are Adeleke Adeyemi (The Missing Clock); the late EsiabaIrobi (Cemetery Road); Kaine Agary (Yellow Yellow) Mabel Segun and Professor AkachiAdimora-Ezeigbo, co-winners with ‘Reader’s Theatre’ and ‘My Cousin Sammy’; Ahmed Yerima (Hard Ground) and another set of co-winners, Gabriel Okara and the late Professor EzenwaOhaeto, Chants of a Minstrel and The Dreamer: His Vision, respectively.

The post Expectations high as race for 2019 NPL begins appeared first on Tribune Online.

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