Idada, Olatunde, Begho, Emerge Finalists for NLNG’s Literature Prize


Peter Uzoho

The Advisory Board for The Nigeria Prize for Literature has announced Jude

Idada’s ‘Boom Boom’, Dunni Olatunde’s ‘Mystery at Ebenezer Lodge’ and O.T.

Begho’s ‘The Great Walls of Benin’ as finalists for the 2019 edition of the competition.

The prize for the competition sponsored annually by the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Limited is worth $100,000.

The finalists were announced on Wednesday at a press conference in Lagos.

Boom Boom, which was written by Idada highlights Sickle Cell Anaemia, a common health issue in Nigeria, alongside the pain, love and bonds of friendship that come with the daily struggles of the victims in fascinating and capturing storytelling.

The book unveils the world of an eight-year old boy who tries to find a way of saving his sister from Sickle Cell Anemia, a disease that claimed the life of his mother.

Mystery at Ebenezer Lodge written by Olatunde evokes nostalgic thrills of children adventures.

The book centres on the Ilesanmi children who were sent to their grandmother’s aunt for a week only to uncover a mystery of someone entering an old building without using the doors.

It is a story filled with curiosity, riddles and problem-solving.

Also, Begho’s ‘The Great Walls of Benin, set in the ancient Benin Kingdom brings children’s attention to the myths of origin.

Two children go on a quest after a harmless game of hide and seek, opening up a surreal world of culture and heritage.

The winner of the Prize will be announced at an award night on October 11, 2019.

According to the Prize’s panel of judges, the books represent a very high degree of creativity.

They stated that the three works were highly didactic, yet coated in an absorbing and engaging narrative, and that the style of writing exhibited in the books was suitable for children.

The panel added that the books with their fascinating style also “helps provide clarity to the vicissitudes of life, spur healthy curiosity, build problem solving skills as well as promote the role of oral literature as an effective tool for disseminating knowledge to children”.

While announcing the finalists, the Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Nigeria Prize for Literature, Prof. Ayo Banjo, assured that the board will

retain the high literary standards of the prize, pointing out that the NLNG Prize for Literature remains the most prestigious literary prize in Africa.

The Nigeria Prize for Literature rotates yearly amongst four literary genres: prose fiction, poetry, drama and children’s literature. The 2019 prize is for children’s literature while next year’s competition will focus on prose fiction.

Speaking at the event, the General Manager, External Relations for NLNG, Eyono Fatayi-Williams, who was represented by the company’s Corporate Communications Manager, Sophia Horsfall, said: “NLNG remains committed to responsible corporate citizenship, and The Nigeria Prize for Literature is one of our numerous contributions towards building a better Nigeria.”