June 14, 2024
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Organisers announce winners of SEVHAGE Literary Prizes 2023

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  • January 7, 2024
  • 4 min read
Organisers announce winners of SEVHAGE Literary Prizes 2023

* Call for 2024 prizes out February

By Editor

WITH four categories to showcase the multifaceted talent of African writers, SEVHAGE 2023 literary competition received many exciting entries from across Africa. The judges, led by multiple award-winning renowned author, scholar and teacher, Professor Hyginus O. Ekwuazi, were once again reminded of the incredible depth and breadth of our continent’s literary prowess. The prizes are in honour of distinguished professors and teachers in the field of literature and media, all of them accomplished writers and critics who have contributed to the growth of literature and criticism across the African continent. They are Professor Sule E. Egya (aka E. E. Sule), Professor Leticia Mbaiver Nyitse, Professor Maria Ajima, and Professor Hyginus Ekwuazi.

According to the Publicity Lead for SEVHAGE Prizes 2023, Dr. Ruth Ehighocho James, each category of the SEVHAGE Prizes has an overall winner that will be awarded the full prize: N100,000 for the E.E. Sule/SEVHAGE Prize for African Criticism; and N61,700 for the other categories. The prize money will be split equally among the category with joint winners. In addition, the finalists (runners-up) in each category will be awarded the SEVHAGE/Agema Founder’s Prize and get N5,000 each. Everyone in these categories, those on the shortlist and longlist will also get complimentary e-certificates too.

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Winner of E.E. Sule/SEVHAGE Prize for African Criticism 2023, Arasi Kamolideen Oluwapelumi

The winner for E. E. Sule/SEVHAGE Prize for African Criticism 2023 is Arasi Kamolideen Oluwapelumi, who wrote on ‘A Principle for the New Nigerian Poetry.’ The SEVHAGE/Agema Founder’s Prize awardees are: Eugene Shichet Yakubu, whose work is titled ‘Gender as Performance, and Androgynous Space Creation in African Literature: Reading Dibia’s Walking with Shadows and Duiker’s The Quiet Violence’; Alex Nderitu, with his work, ‘The Cartography of Human Behavior: Vernacular Theatre in Eastern Africa’; Bizuum Godwill Yadok, author of ‘Negotiating Spaces in Western Metropolitan Societies: Focus on Contemporary Nigerian Diasporic Novels’; Abidemi Emman Oguntunji’s ‘Women and the Boko Haram Terrorists: Reading Trauma in Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani’s Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree’; and Shilika Chisoko’s ‘Unraveling Familial Ties in the Representations of Wives in Selected Women Authored Zambian Short Stories.’

According to the judges’ report, ‘A Principle For The New Nigerian Poetry’ topped the list because of its originality in redirecting “reason to the rising trend of decoloniality that professes, in peculiarity, the sacredness of literary freshness and ownership of the new Nigerian literature.” They also noted that “the entries were critical and shows the vastness of scholarship available in the African cannon.”

The SEVHAGE-Leticia Nyitse Prize for Short Fiction 2023 was jointly awarded to Amanda Ilozumba and Ola W. Halim, with the respective works ‘The Girl Whose Family Drowned in Her Name’ and ‘On Most Saturdays, It Doesn’t Rain’. The SEVHAGE/Agema Founder’s Prize awardees are: ‘Dial M for Murder’ by Hajara Hussaina Ashara; ‘How Lagos Wrings You Dry’ by Prosper C. Ifeanyi; and ‘Let This Be the Noose That Unties Me’ by Enit’ayanfe Ayosojumi Akinsanya.

‘Grief: Its Invisible Gerund’ by Abasi-maenyin Esebre won the
SEVHAGE-Maria Ajima Prize for Creative Non-Fiction. The SEVHAGE/Agema Founder’s Prize awardees are: ‘Boy, What is the Taste of a Glory that Burns’ by Mhembeuter Jeremiah Orhemba; ‘No Tongue of My Own’ by Mwanabibi Sylvia Sikamo; ‘It Tastes Like Love’ by Olajesutofunmi Akinyemi; ‘Butterflies, Fireflies, & Brotherhood’ by Hope Joseph; ‘The Five Stages of Grief is Death’ by Ejiro Elizabeth Edward; and ‘A Mother Figure’ by Hajaarh Muhammad Bashar.

The Judges’ Report notes that Abasi-maenyin Esebre’s piece is “beautiful, brilliant and heartfelt piece” showing the markings of a fine craftsperson. The other selected entries were chosen for their variety, sensitivity and exploration of the human spirit.”

For SEVHAGE-KSR Hyginus Ekwuazi Poetry Prize, Sodiq Oyekanmi is winner with his poem, ‘glossolalia.’ The SEVHAGE/Agema Founder’s Prize awardees are: ‘Riverscape with Seine’ by Martins Deep, ‘Self-Innoculation//&the Falsettos of Soft Bruises’ by Joshua Effiong, ‘why this poet is addicted to heartbreak songs’ by Damilola Omotoyinbo, ‘Here, I Introduced Kotus to the Encyclopedia of My Dolour’ by Abduljalal Musa Aliyu and ‘Ujana’ by Frank Njugi make the list.

The Judge’s Report shows that the poetry category boasted incredible talents making the selection of a final winner challenging: “Every nominated poet showcased incredible talent and class. Heartfelt congratulations to all who made the lists and even those who submitted.”

The eight-person prizes jury include Professor Hyginus Ekwuazi (Chair), S. Su’eddie Vershima Agema, Dr. Tayol Raphael, Romeo Oriogun, Deborah Oluniran, Carl Terver, Oko Owoicho, and Blessing Omeiza.

The call for the SEVHAGE Literary Prizes 2024 will be out in February.

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