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NPL 2024: 163 writers jostle for children’s literary laurel

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  • April 18, 2024
  • 4 min read
NPL 2024: 163 writers jostle for children’s literary laurel

By Editor

ONE hundred and sixty-three (163) will jostle to be crowned children’s literature laureate, as judges begin work to determine the best children’s writer in the country. The 163 entries were received today, Thursday, April 18, 2024 by the 3-man jury panel of The Nigeria Prize for Literature, sponsored by Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG). This was revealed today, Thursday, April 18, 2024 at a ceremony in Lagos to hand over the entries to judges for the commencement of the adjudication process. NLNG, represented by its General Manager for External Relations and Sustainable Development, Mr. Andy Odeh, handed over the entries to the chair of the prize’s Advisory Board, Professor Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo, who in turn handed over the entries to the judges.

Speaking at the handover ceremony, Mr. Odeh lauded the achievements that have been recorded by Nigerian writers in the past 20 years of running the prize.

According to Mr. Odeh, “This handover of entries is a celebration of the commitment and hard work put forth by every participant. It is a reminder of the importance of fostering a culture that encourages innovation, critical thinking, and artistic expression. It is also an opportunity for us to recognize the dedication and support of those who have mentored and guided these individuals, providing them with the resources and inspiration to achieve greatness.”

The prize rotates yearly amongst four literary categories of prose fiction, poetry, drama and children’s Literature. The Advisory Board also handed over 24 entries for The Nigeria Prize for Literary Criticism.

The literature prize, which is now in its 20th year, has a cash prize of USD$100,000 while the Literary Criticism Prize has a prize money of USD$10,000.

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General Manager for External Relations and Sustainable Development, Nigeria LNG, Mr. Andy Odeh (standing – right) handing over this year’s entries to the Chair of Advisory Board of The Nigeria Prize for Literature, Prof. Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo (standing – left) while Prof. Olu Obafemi (sitting – left) and Prof. Saleh Abdul (sitting – right) look on

Professor Saleh Abdu chairs the panel of judges for this year’s literature prize and the literary criticism competition. Professor Abdu is a professor of English at Federal University, Kashere, Gombe State. He has taught courses mostly in literature at various levels. He also served at Bayero University Kano and Federal University, Kashere as Head of Department, Faculty Sub-Dean, Dean of Faculty, Chair of Senate, and Management and Council Committees. He has authored and co-authored several books, including his Poet of the People’s Republic: Reading the Poetry of Niyi Osundare (2003).

Other panel members include Professor Vicky Sylvester and Dr. Igudia Osarobu. Professor Sylvester is a writer who has been teaching at the Department of English, University of Abuja. Her prolific writing career has produced numerous award-winning novels, poems, and academic works. Dr. Osarobu is a Doctor of Philosophy at the Department of Library Archival & Information Studies, University of Ibadan, Oyo State.

Professor Christopher Okemwa, a lecturer of poetry and drama at Kisii University, Kenya, serves as the International Consultant for the 2024 edition of the Prize. He has published over 10 children’s books, winning the 2015 Canadian Burt Award for African Literature (Kenya) with one of the books. He is the founder and director of Kistrech Children’s Literature Association (KICHLA) of Kenya.

Past winners in the children’s literature prize include Professor Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo (2007), author of the joint-winning book, My Cousin Sammy, Mabel Segun (2007) with her book, Readers’ Theatre: Twelve Plays for Young People, Mai Nasara (2011) who clinched the prize with his book, The Missing Clock, and Jude Idada (2019) with his book, Boom Boom.

Other members of the Advisory Board are Prof. Olu Obafemi and Prof. Ahmed Yerima.

The Nigeria Prize for Literature is Africa’s most prestigious literary award, and the increase in entries for the children’s literature cycle highlights the growing interest of Nigerian writers in Africa’s richest literary prize. With this year’s edition particularly competitive, the judges and Advisory Board have their work cut out to select a deserving winner.

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