Thursday, October 13, 2016

Literature fetches writer N31m in time of recession

The Advisory Board of the Nigeria Prize for Literature has announced writer and journalist, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, as the winner of the 2016 edition of the prize after a nine-month long process of adjudication.
Abubakar Adam Ibrahim.

Chairman of the board, Emeritus Prof. Ayo Banjo, made the announcement at a meeting with journalists in Lagos on Wednesday.

Ibrahim’s novel, Season of Crimson Blossoms, beat 172 other entries, including the works of close contenders, El-Nathan John and Belgium-based Chika Unigwe, to emerge winner of this year’s competition in the prose fiction category.

In his report, Banjo said, “It was a strong field this year. The shortlisted entries were very strong and the board had no difficulty in accepting the recommendation of the panel of judges, considering the subject matter and competent manner in which the winner demonstrated the execution of his work.”

He described the winning novel as “a skillful and sympathetic narrative handling of a most psychologically and emotionally painful” encounter between an aging widow, who seeks release from her culturally imposed sexual repression, and the young leader of a group of dealers in hard drugs.

Still on the summary of the novel, Banjo continued, “In the background, the violent history of ethnic hatred and conflicts in Jos is placed within the larger context of contemporary Nigerian history with its complex and sometimes violent intertwining of politics, religion and culture.
“The novel moves from its evocative and passionate first sentence through a web of anxious moments to a tragic and painful conclusion with hardly a moment of respite.  All through it projects the implications of certain social issues for a younger audience – key issues such as early marriage, drug abuse and the impact of relationships on human action. It is a novel whose narrow domestic action has a wider universal relevance beyond its immediate setting.”
Reacting to the verdict, the General Manager, External Relations at the Nigeria Liquefied and Natural Gas Company Limited, sponsors of the literature prize, Kudo Eresia-Eke, noted that the quality of entries in the 2016 competition had said a lot for the development and progression of Nigerian writing. “We are very proud of the quality of the entries received. Let me reiterate very clearly that we will continue to support the integrity and excellence, which are some of the pillars that we have built the NLNG’s success as a company on,” he said.

The Nigeria Prize for Literature is awarded with a cash prize of $100, 000 (N31m at the official exchange rate). Ibrahim’s maiden short story collection, The Whispering Trees, was longlisted for the inaugural Etisalat Prize for Literature in 2014 and the title story was shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing.

Culled from

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