Ken Saro-Wiwa Prize for Book Review 2023 now accepting entries

The Committee for Relevant Art (CORA), the driving force behind the annual Lagos Book & Art Festival (LABAF), has officially opened the doors for submissions to the 2023 Ken Saro-Wiwa Prize for Book Review. This prestigious literary award, named in honour of the renowned writer and environmentalist, Ken Saro-Wiwa, aims to promote reading and engagement with published texts, aligning with CORA’s core mission and LABAF’s primary project.

Ken Saro-Wiwa, who tragically lost his life at the hands of the Nigerian State on November 10, 1995, left an indelible mark on the world of literature and environmental advocacy. This prize seeks to keep his legacy alive by encouraging young writers to delve into literary works and provide insightful book reviews.

The 2023 Ken Saro-Wiwa Prize focuses on the review of the drama text GRIT by Obari Gomba, the winner of the 2023 Nigeria Prize for Literature, which carries a substantial $100,000 reward. Entrants are required to submit reviews with a minimum length of 800 words and a maximum of 1500 words to by November 10, 2023. The competition is exclusively open to individuals aged 18 to 25.

The schedule for the prize announcement is as follows:

-Shortlisted Entries Announcement: Monday, November 13

-Overall Winner Announcement: Wednesday, November 15

-Prize Conferment on Winner: Friday, November 17 at Freedom Park, Lagos

The special guest of honour for the event will be Obari Gomba, the 2023 Nigeria Prize for Literature laureate, while the guest of honour will be Andy Odey, General Manager, ER & SD, NLNG.

The specific nature of the prizes will be disclosed as part of the preparations for the Lagos Book & Art Festival LABAF 2023, taking place from November 13 to 19. The winner and two runners-up will be awarded literary materials and tools, and the winning review will be widely published in various media outlets and reputable journals.

The Ken Saro-Wiwa Prize project was inaugurated in 2015 during the 17th LABAF, which was dedicated to commemorating the 20th anniversary of Ken Saro-Wiwa’s tragic demise. The project aligns with CORA and LABAF’s key objectives, aiming to deepen the culture of reading and engagement with literary content across various genres.

As for LABAF 2023, the festival’s theme is “THE RESET: History and the Darkling Plain.” It aims to reflect on critical points in Nigeria’s history, especially as the nation transitions into a new political era, drawing lessons from its political and cultural history to chart a progressive path for the future. The festival features a range of programs, including conversations, readings, reviews, exhibitions, workshops, mentoring sessions, and performances in poetry, drama, music, dance, and more.

LABAF is a comprehensive seven-day Cultural Picnic that features a variety of literary activities, including reading sessions, book exhibitions, art and crafts workshops, live music, drama, and dance performances. The festival, running from November 13 to 19, is designed to make books and the arts cool while celebrating ideas and life in general.

CORA is an art advocacy group that consists of artists, art enthusiasts, art promoters, and art writers committed to promoting contemporary arts in Nigeria and Africa. They have organized the Lagos Book & Art Festival (LABAF) since 1999, widely recognized as one of the largest culture picnics on the African continent.


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