MULTI-LINGUAL poet and award winner Toyin Adewale-Gabriel and notable performance poet Dike Chukwumerije are the two non-academics that make up the prize jury this year for coveted The Nigeria Prize for Literature 2022 and The Nigeria Prize for Literary Criticism 2022 that have just been announced for entries. Professor Sule Emmanuel Egya will chair the 3-man jury panel. The Nigeria Prize for Literature 2022 has poetry as the category to be contested for. April 8, 2022 is the deadline for submission of entries while prize award is slated for October 2022.
Egya is a professor of African Literature and Cultural Studies at Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University, Lapai, Niger State. He is also an award-winning poet and novelist who writes under the pen name E. E. Sule. Adewale-Gabriel and Chukwumerije are a welcome innovation to the notable prize jury that had seen mostly university professors dominating its ranks since inception in 15 years. Prize winner with poetry collection ‘The Sahara Testament’ Tade Ipadeola was the only exception a few years ago, after what appeared a relentless campaign by a section of the literary community who considered an all-academic jury board not a good idea. Adewale-Gabriel writes poetry and has worked as a literary critic for ‘The Guardian,’ ‘Post Express’ and ‘The Daily Times.’ She writes in both English and in German.
Chukwumerije is an intense spoken word performance artist and an award-winning author. He has eight published books, including the novel Urichindere, which won the 2013 Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) Prize for Prose Fiction. His poetry theatre production aptly called ‘Made In Nigeria’ is a criticism of the current malaise plaguing his country and lays out how to reset the parametres for a true Nigeria to emerge from the currently chao. He has toured Nigerian cities: Abuja, Lagos, Enugu, Benin, Ile-Ife, Maiduguri, Yola, Bonny and Jos, Ibadan, with his unique message of fostering a new country from the current one that is moving in vicious circles.
About two weeks ago, the communication and public affairs team of prize sponsor Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas (NLNG) Limited had hinted at the possible innovations being planned for this year’s prize structure to make it more inclusive and all-embracing. Perhaps, taking the prize jury stranglehold from academics is the first necessary step. The Advisory Board that announced this year’s prize consists of academic members only and is next in line that literary watchers believe should also feel the innovations being undertaken to make the prize better.
Apart from the regular guidelines of submitting 12 hard copies of their works, poets are advised to also submit copies via the official www.thenigeriaprizes.org, plus indicating where ecopies can be purchased.
Novelist and feminist theorist Professor Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo currently chairs the Advisory Board, and she is assisted by two playwrights Professors Olu Obafemi and Ahmed Yerima. The Advisory Board does not have a tenure, as the last board lasted for a long time before the current one was constituted about three years ago.