In 2009 there was a no-show for the NLNG shortlisted authors. In that year, the award was to go for a poet and even though there was a shortlist of authors, none of them was deemed good enough to win the award, according to the Advisory Board.
On Friday July 22, 2011, the Advisory Board for The Nigerian Prize for Literature approved an initial shortlist of six out of the 126 books for the 2011 edition of the NLNG prize.
Making up the shortlist are:
- Uche Peter Umez winner of the 2006 Commonwealth Short Story Prize and runner-up for the 2007 The Nigeria Prize for Literature with his book The Runaway Hero;
- Philip Begho, author of over 70 books and two-time contender for The Nigeria Prize for Literature in 2004 and 2010 with his Aunty Felicia Goes to School;
- Ayodele Olofintuande with Eno's Story;
- Chinyere Obi-Obasi with The Great Fall;
- Mai Nasara with The Missing Clock; and
- Thelma Nwokeji with her debut Red Nest.
The children’s literature prize does not favour any genre- prose, poetry or drama; only good writing is rewarded. The prize sifts the huge array of children’s books which come out every four years, short listing only the mind-snaring originals. Professor Akachi-Ezeigbo said the judges were particularly careful to avoid poorly edited books, books with low moral thresholds, junk reads, thrillers or books which can be read on auto-pilot. The emphasis is on good books that stay with you long past the point at which you put them down, she said.
The Nigeria Prize for Literature has since 2004 rewarded eminent writers such as Gabriel Okara, founding father of modern Nigerian poetry, revered octogenarian Mabel Segun for her collection of short plays Reader’s Theatre; Ahmed Yerima, for his classic, Hard Ground, and Esiaba Irobi who posthumously clinched the prize, last year, with his book Cemetery Road.
Professor Banjo said a second shortlist of three books will be announced in September and a winner, if any, in October. The Nigeria Prize for Literature rotates yearly amongst four literary genres: prose fiction, poetry, drama and children’s literature. The 2011 prize goes to children’s literature. This year’s prize has a cash value of US$ 100, 000.
Read the full announcement here.