The Advisory Board for The Nigeria Prize for Literature led by Professor Emeritus Ayo Banjo has announced an initial shortlist of 10 books in the running for the 2012 literature prize. According to the Chair of Judges, Prof. Francis Abiola Irele, it took months of intensive scrutiny by the panel to produce the shortlist drawn from 214 entries from Nigerians at home and abroad; this happens to be the largest number received since the prize was inaugurated in 2004. The following are the shortlisted books:
- Ngozi Achebe Onaedo: The Blacksmith's Daughter
- Ifeanyi Ajaegbo: Sarah House
- Jude Dibia: Blackbird
- Vincent Egbuson: Zhero
- Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani: I do not Come to You by Chance
- Onuora Nzekwu: Troubled Dust
- Olusola Olugbesan: Only Canvas
- Lola Shoneyin: The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives
- E E Sule: Sterile Sky
- Chika Unigwe: On Black Sister's Street
The Advisory Board announced that the final shortlist will be released soon. The Nigeria Prize for Literature rotates yearly amongst four literary genres: prose fiction, poetry, drama and children's literature. Last year it was won by Mai Nasara (a pseudonym) for Missing Clock (children's literature). The award comes with a cash prize of US$ 100,000.
From all indications, this year's award is going to be keenly competed. Most of the books have received some form of awards and have been hugely patronised and well-reviewed/received. From Chika Unigwei's On Black Sister's Street, through to Lola Shoneyin's The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives, Adaobi's I do not Come to You by Chance, Jude Dibia's Blackbird, and Ngozi Achebe's The Blacksmith's Daughter, the judges are going to find a hard time shortening the list further down and then choosing the winner.