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Submission opens for Ken Saro-Wiwa Prize for Book Review 2023

  • November 2, 2023
  • 4 min read
Submission opens for Ken Saro-Wiwa Prize for Book Review 2023

Winners to be awarded at LABAF 2023 – November 13-19

By Editor

THE Committee for Relevant Art, CORA, promoters of the yearly Lagos Book and Art Festival (LABAF), has called for submission of entries for the 2023 edition of the annual Ken Saro-Wiwa Prize For Book Review. Dedicated to celebrate the life and career of the famous writer and environmentalist, Ken Saro-Wiwa, who was killed by the Nigeria state on November 10, 1995, the Prize is designed to encourage reading and engagement of the published text, which is in tandem with the core objective of CORA and its prime project, the LABAF.

A release from the Programme Directorate of the festival spells out the features and conditions for the orize as follows: a review of the drama text Grit by Dr. Obari Gomba – winner of The Nigeria Prize for Literature 2023 worth $100,000. Entries should be a maximum of 1m500 words and a minimum of 800 words. Entries must be submitted latest 12 noon November 10, 2023 to coralabaf@gmail.com. Competition open to only those between: 18 and 25 years. The announcement of shortlisted entries will take place on Monday, November 13, announcement of overall winner will be on Wednesday, November 15 while the prize award will be held on Friday, November 17 at Freedom Park, Lagos.

Gomba, winner if The Nigeria Prize for Literature 2023, will be special guest of honour at the Ken Saro-Wiwa Prize for Book Review while the General Manager, External Relations and Sustainable Development, Nigeria Liquified Nayural Gas Ltd, Mr. Andy Odeh will be guest of honour at the award event.

Late writer and environmental campaigner, Ken Saro-Wiwa

The winner and two runners-up will win prizes denominated in literary materials and tools. The winning review would be widely published in the media and in reputable journals. The Ken Saro-Wiwa Prize for Book Review project was launched in 2015 on the occasion of the 17th edition of Lagos Book and Art Festival (LABAF), which was dedicated to mark the 20th anniversary of the state killing of Saro-Wiwa, himself a keen observer, commentator, and critic of the quality of literature being produced in the country in his time. The project is designed to further a key objective of CORA and LABAF – deepening the culture of reading and engagement of content of literary works, particularly fiction, drama, poetry and non-fiction –– all the genres where the late author, Ken Saro-Wiwa, excelled in his illustrious writing career.

The theme for the 2023 edition is The Reset: History and the Darkling Plain, designed to – through written texts and performances in drama, music, poetry and the visual arts, etc – reflect on the various critical points in the history of Nigeria, especially as we settled into a new political dispensation, and by extension the histories of rest of Africa and the world. The essence is to mine those lessons in the political and cultural history of the nation to plot a progressive direction for its future. The festival’s main programme iterations include conversations around ideas contained in the books of the festival – relevant to the theme of the festival – readings, reviews and sessions on writing and publishing, exhibitions of books and visual arts, workshops and mentoring sessions for young people, performances in poetry, drama, music, dance, etc, arthouse celebrations of eminent artistes and culture workers who have registered their names and footprints in the cause of nation building. The idea is to set them up as role models for both old and young people – to inspire hope and motivate them to aspire to greater accomplishments in their chosen careers or vocation. LABAF is a carnivalesque atmosphere created to make books and the arts look cool while celebrating ideas and life in general.

CORA is an art advocacy group consisting of artistes, art enthusiasts, art promoters and art writers committed to the flowering of all the contemporary arts of Nigerian and African people. It has organised, every year since 1999, the Lagos Book & Art Festival, (LABAF), critically described as ‘the biggest culture picnic on the African continent.’ The 25th edition holds November 13-19 with theme ‘The Reset: History On A Darkling Plain.’

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