The advisory board of the Nigeria Prize for Literature sponsored by Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG) has announced Abubakar Adam Ibrahim as the winner of the 2016 edition of the prize after a nine-month long process of adjudication.
The announcement was made by the chairman of the advisory board, Emeritus Professor Ayo Banjo, at a press conference in Lagos.
Ibrahim’s novel, Season of Crimson Blossoms, emerged winner from among 172 other entries received for the competition.
According to Prof. Banjo, “It was a strong field this year. The shortlisted entries were very strong and the board had no difficulty in accepting the recommendation of the panel of judges, considering the subject matter and competent manner in which Ibrahim demonstrated the execution of his work.”
Reacting to the verdict, the General Manager, External Relations at NLNG, Kudo Eresia-Eke, said: “It has been a very rigorous process and we are very happy that at the end of the day, both the international consultant and panel of judges came to an alignment. We are very proud of the quality of entries received.
“Let me reiterate very clearly that we will continue to support integrity and excellence, which are some of the pillars we have built NLNG’s success as a company on.”
The prize is awarded with a cash prize of $100,000, the 19th richest literary prize in the world and the richest in Africa.
The decision on the winning entry of The Nigeria Prize for Literature was reached by a panel of judges, led by Prof. Dan Izevbaye, a well-respected literary critic and professor of Literature in English; Prof. Asabe Usman Kabir, professor of Oral and African Literature at Usman Danfodiyo University, Sokoto; and Professor Isidore Diala, first winner of The Nigeria Prize for Literary Criticism and Professor of African Literature in the Department of English, Imo State University, Owerri.
The international consultant, Prof. Kojo Senanu of the University of Legon, is an internationally acclaimed scholar.
The panel had, through the advisory board, released a shortlist of 11 writers in July 2016 and later, a shortlist of three in September 2016. The three shortlisted entries in alphabetic order, were ‘Born on a Tuesday (Elnathan John), Night Dancer (Chika Unigwe), and Season of Crimson Blossoms (Abubakar Adam Ibrahim)’.
Members of the advisory board for the literature prize besides Prof. Banjo, a two-time vice-chancellor of the University of Ibadan, are Prof. Jerry Agada, former Minister of State for Education and former President of the Association of Nigerian Authors; and Professor Emeritus Ben Elugbe, former President of the Nigerian Academy of Letters and President of the West-African Linguistic Society (2004-2013).
The Nigeria Prize for Literature rotates yearly among four literary genres: prose fiction, poetry, drama and children’s literature.