Eight Nigerian authors are amongst the 15 African writers nominated for 2012 edition of the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa.
The Nigerian writers in the 2012 long list include Tanure Ojaide for his book (The Beauty I have Seen), Toyin Adewale-Gabriel (Bitter Chocolate), Hyginus Ekwuazi (That Other Country), and Belgium-based Chika Unigwe (On Black Sister’s Street).
Dike Ogu Chukwumerije (The African-American), Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo (Roses and Bullets), Odili Ujubuonu (Pride of the Spider Clan) and Olushola Olugbesan (Only a Canvass) are the remaining Nigerians vying for the prize.
Others Africans on the long list are Kgebetli Moele (The Book of the Dead), Bridget Pit (The Unseen Leopard), Sifiso Mzobe (Young Blood), Marie Heese (The Colour of Power), H.J. Golakai (Lazarus Effect), Sue Rabie (Fallout) and Arja Salafranca (The Thin Line).
The literary prize which is worth $20,000 was instituted in honour of Africa’s first Nobel Laureate Prize for Literature, Professor Wole Soyinka and is managed by the Lumina Foundation in 2005.
Since its inception, Nigerian writers won every year, with the exception of 2010, when South Africa’s Kopano Matlwa (Coconut) was a joint winner with Nigeria’s Wale Okediran (Tenants of the House).
Part winners include Nnedi Okoroafor, with (Zarah the Wind Seeker) in 2008 while Sefi Atta won the maiden edition with (Everything Good Will Come). The prize is in its fourth edition.
While announcing the list of nominees for 2012, chairman, Board of Trustees of The Lumina Foundation, Mrs. Francesca Emmanuel, disclosed that the panel of judges for the 2012 edition “is made up of distinguished intellectuals from South Sudan, Nigeria, Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire and South Africa”.
She noted they were already working hard to have another shortlist of authors announced later this month. The prize will be presented early September.
Former Ghanaian President, Mr. John Kufour, will be chairing the event and also deliver the keynote address.
According to the organisers, a t total of 402 writers applied for this year’s edition from 26 African countries as against 336 in 2010 in the biennial award.
A major feature for this fourth edition of the coveted literary prize is the coming on board of telecommunication company, Globacom Nigeria Limited, as major sponsor.
Director, Events and Sponsorship for the telecom company, Mr. Bode Opeseitan, in his remark stated that Globacom was delighted to be part of the Soyinka prize, which he claims “seeks to encourage capacity building in literary works, especially within the African continent.” “Our involvement in this project is a further demonstration of our commitment to giving value to our subscribers as well as contributing to the intellectual development of the communities where we operate.”
He stressed that the partnership with the Soyinka prize, “is geared towards providing informative entertainment and create avenues for literary performances, in addition to improving the reading culture and the quality of the books produced across Africa.”
“We believe that successful partnership between the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa and Globacom will see the emergence of more Soyinka’s and others in the nearest future, thus fulfilling the objective of the project, which is to discover, recognize and reward the best literary works produced by Africans”.
The organisers have also announced that the prize format would be rotated amongst literary genres as from 2014, which will feature prose fiction-full length novel or collection of short stories by a single author).
Thereafter, drama will take its turn in 2016, poetry in 2018 and essays (on political and human right issues) in 2020.
Reading sessions for all the 15 novels nominated for this year’s prize will hold every Tuesday at 4pm at Number 19 University of Lagos Road, Akoka, Lagos, to promote the books and endear the works to the public before the award presentation.