The carefully picked panel of judges is led by Professor Sule Egya, a professor of African Literature and Cultural Studies at Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University, Lapai, Niger State. He is a renowned poet and novelist who has written over one hundred scholarly articles and literary essays. His first novel, Sterile Sky, won the 2013 Commonwealth Book Prize for the Africa Region.
The other judges include Toyin Adewale-Gabriel, a highly experienced poet and narrator who has also worked as a literary critic for years, and Dike Chukwumerije, a Nigerian Spoken Word and Performance Poetry artist and an award-winning author who is the brain behind Night of the Spoken Word. He is also the winner of the 2013 Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) Prize for Prose Fiction.
At the hand-over ceremony, NLNG’s General Manager for External Relations and Sustainable Development, Mr. Andy Odeh, spoke on some significant strides that have been made in the Nigeria Prizes at the hand-over ceremony. He stated that NLNG recently launched a website that serves as a one-stop information hub for the prizes.
“This site served as the submission portal for entries received this year. We hope that by launching this new portal, we will be able to make more information about the prizes, process, governance, winning works, and winners available to the general public. Also, based on feedback from various stakeholders, this year, the Advisory Board appointed two judges who are practitioners, not from core academia. But be assured that their credentials are solid and they speak to their craft and contributions to the literary world, “he added.
In her remarks, Professor Adimora-Ezeigbo urged the judges to use the opportunity to put literature on a pedestal and make it an enabler of development in the country. Other members of the Advisory Board include Prof. Olu Obafemi and Prof. Ahmed Yerima.
The Nigeria Prize for Literature, Africa’s most prestigious literary award, rotates yearly amongst four literary categories: prose fiction, poetry, drama, and children’s literature.