Shortlist revealed for 2023 Nigeria Prize for Literature with Akubuiro, Gomba and Ojomu in contention

The anticipation for this year’s literary accolade has reached its zenith as the Advisory Board for The Nigeria Prize for Literature, sponsored by Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG), unveiled the shortlist for the 2023 edition. 

The announcement, made by Professor Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo, Chairperson of the Advisory Board, during a live broadcast on the Prize’s social media platforms, has left the literary world abuzz.

Titled “Grit,” Obari Gomba’s play has garnered unanimous acclaim from the judges for its ability to transcend its pages, weaving a captivating narrative that has etched an indelible mark. Abideen Abolaji Ojomu’s “The Ojuelegba Crossroads” resonated deeply with the judges, hailed for its profound exploration of the nation’s socio-political fabric. The play’s portrayal of everyday struggles and decision-making conflicts, culminating in a harmonious resolution, has struck a chord.

Intrigue abounds in Henry Akubuiro’s “Yamtarawala – The Warrior King,” a play that not only captured the judges’ admiration but also evoked cinematic potential with its dramatic twists. The narrative’s engaging and exhilarating progression has garnered praise, positioning it not only for the stage but also the silver screen.

With a total of 143 plays vying for the prestigious award, the Advisory Board had the unenviable task of selecting the top contenders. The chosen plays, according to the Board, represent the epitome of literary craftsmanship, showcasing an artistic convergence that defines The Nigeria Prize for Literature’s pursuit.

The winner of the $100,000 cash award will be disclosed by the Advisory Board on October 13, 2023. This year’s International Consultant, Professor Victor K. Yankah from the University of Cape Coast, Ghana, lends his expertise to the proceedings.

The Nigeria Prize for Literature rotates yearly amongst four literary categories – prose fiction, poetry, drama, and children’s literature. NLNG has been sponsoring the prize for over two decades and has awarded over $1 million to 17 winning works in literature.

As the literary community awaits the verdict, echoes of past triumphs resound. In the Drama genre, Soji Cole clinched victory with “Embers,” following in the footsteps of Denja Abdullahi (“Death and The King’s Grey Hair”) and Akanji Nasiru (“The Rally”), who were all shortlisted in 2018.

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