A total of one hundred and nine (109) entries have been submitted by Nigerians from across the country and beyond for the 2015 Nigeria Prize for Literature sponsored by the Nigeria LNG Limited.
Considered Africa’s most prestigious literary award for its uncompromising insistence on excellence and the US 4100,000 (One hundred thousand dollars) cash prize, the NLNG sponsored initiative rotates yearly among the four literary categories of prose fiction, poetry, drama and children’s literature.
Authors competing for the award typically send their works which are assessed by a panel of judges comprising eminent literary scholars with their decisions and review overseen by an advisory committee of equally distinguished academics and literarists.
Speaking at the handover ceremony of entries received to this year’s panel of judges in Lagos on Wednesday, the General Manager External Affairs, NLNG, Kudo Eresia Eke disclosed that this year’s focus is on Children’s Literature.
Eke also said that on the panel of judges for this year’s edition are Prof. Uwemedimo Enobong Iwoketok of the University of Jos, who would be the Chairperson, Prof. Charles Bodunde of the University of Ilorin and the University of Maiduguri’s Dr. Razinat Mohammed.
He recalled that members of the Advisory Board for the Prize are Professor Emeritus Ayo Banjo, Prof. Ben Elugbe and Prof. Jerry Agada adding that Kimberly Reynolds, a Professor of Children’s Literature at Newcastle University in the United Kingdom and past President of the International Research Society for Children’s Literature is this year’s International Consultant to the Advisory Board.
He observed that submissions were examined and shortlisted based on a number of considerations including editorial excellence, creativity and story plot with the aim of selecting a final winner who would then be publicly announced in October each year to coincide with the date NLNG shipped its first Liquefied Natural Gas cargo.
According to him,” we have received a hundred and nine books as submissions by Nigerian authors to compete for this year’s prize in children’s literature. I can only wish all the authors vying for the honour, every success and the best outcome possible in the exercise”.
It will be recalled that the last winner of the literature prize in the children’s literature category was Adeleke Adeyemi in 2011 for “The Missing Clock” while Mabel Segun and Prof. Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo were joint winners for the “Reader’s Theatre and My cousin Sammy” in 2007.
The General Manager further said this year’s award for children’s literature would run concurrently with the Prize for literary criticism which he said was also being sponsored by NLNG and for which only one entry was received.
Introduced in 2012, the literary criticism category is yearly award and carries a monetary value of N1 Million.
Also speaking at the occasion, the Chairman of the Advisory Board, Prof. Ayo Banjo noted that the Nigeria prize for Literature has celebrated its 10th anniversary and counting expressing his happiness that this had happened.
While recalling that although Children’s literature was not as developed as the other genres of Literature, Prof. Banjo however stated that the fact that it was not as developed as other genres would not force the Prize to lower its standard.
He observed that one thing the advisory board had been proud of was that the External Consultant had always turned in a report that was in conformity with the decisions of the internal panel of judges expressing the hope that this year’s edition would not be an exception.
Prof. Banjo maintained that the competition was severe as it was not a local prize even though it was not open for everybody but was exclusively for Nigerians anywhere in the world adding that the prize for children’s literature had been won after three years of its existence.
Responding, the Chairperson of the panel of Judges, Prof. Umemedimo Enobong Iwoketok who received the entries on behalf of the panel stated that the panel received the great responsibility from NLNG, the advisory board and indeed from all Nigerians and assured that the confidence reposed on the panel would be sustained.
Elsewhere in education, Nigeria LNG in March 2014 publicly announced a N2 billion University Support Programme (USP). Under the corporate social responsibility initiative, Nigeria LNG is currently sponsoring the building and equipment of engineering laboratories in six universities across Nigeria’s geo-political zones as part of its support in teaching, research and capacity building.