Three finalists shortlisted for NLNG sponsored literature prize emerge

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By Prisca Sam-Duru

Three entries shortlisted for The Nigeria Prize for Literature, sponsored by Nigeria LNG Limited, have been approved by the Advisory Board.

This announcement follows an initial shortlisting of eleven which was released in July. The three shortlisted entries, in alphabetical order, are Born on a Tuesday (Elnathan John), Night Dancer (Chika Unigwe) and Season of Crimson Blossoms (Abubakar Adam Ibrahim).

According to the Chairman of the Advisory Board, Professor Emeritus Ayo Banjo, the eventual winner of the competition will be announced at a World Press Conference in October, 2016.

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 anda 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. Chika Unigwe is a writer and the 2012 winner of The Nigeria Prize for Literature, 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 Manbooker 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 Chairman of the Panel of Judges is Prof. Dan Izevbaye, awell-respected literary critic and professor of Literature in English.Prof. Izevbaye has been visiting lecturer at the University of Kent at Canterbury, visiting professor at University of Pennsylvania, University of Benin, and University of Fort Hare, South Africa. He has been external examiner or curriculum consultant at University of the West Indies.

Other judges are Asabe Usman Kabir, professor of Oral and African Literatures at Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto and Isidore Diala, first winner of The Nigeria Prize for Literary Criticism and professor of African literature in the Department of English, Imo State University, Owerri.

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