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UI don wins NLNG literature prize

A professor from the University of Ibadan, Soji Cole, has emerged winner of the 2018 edition of the Nigeria Prize for Literature for his drama, ‘Embers’, which was adjudged best out of the 89 entries received.

Mr Cole was rewarded with $100,000 award at a grand event held on Friday at the Eko Hotels and Suites, Lagos.

The Advisory Board of the prize headed by Emeritus Professor, Ayo Banjo, adjudged ‘Embers’ the winning entry after beating two others; ‘Death and The King’s Grey Hair’ by Denja Abdullahi and ‘The Rally’ by Akanji Nasiru which made the final shortlist of three books out of the long list of 11 released in July 2018.

Mr Banjo said the three books met the judges’ expectations as well as the quality and excellence for which the Prize stands.

The Nigeria Prize for Literature has since 2004 rewarded eminent writers such as Gabriel Okara (co-winner, 2004, poetry), Professor Ezenwa Ohaeto (co-winner, 2004, poetry) for ‘The Dreamer’, His Vision; Ahmed Yerima (2005, drama) for his play, ‘Hard Ground’; Mabel Segun (co-winner, 2007, children’s literature) for her collection of short plays Reader’s Theatre; Professor Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo (co-winner, 2007, children’s literature) for her book, ‘My Cousin Sammy; Kaine Agary (2008, prose) for her book ‘Yellow Yellow’; Esiaba Irobi (2010, drama) who clinched the prize posthumously with his book ‘Cemetery Road’; Adeleke Adeyemi (2011, children’s literature) with his book ‘The Missing Clock’; Chika Unigwe (2012, prose), with her novel, ‘On Black Sisters Street’; Tade Ipadeola (2013, poetry) with his collection of poems, ‘The Sahara Testaments’, Professor Sam Ukala (2014, drama) with his play, ‘Iredi War’; ‘Seasons of Crimson Blossom’, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim (2016, prose); and The Heresiad, Ikeogu Oke (2017, poetry).

‘Embers’ focuses on life in one of the Internally Displaced People’s (IDP) Camps in Northern Nigeria. The characters gave testimonies of their ugly encounters in Sambisa Forest, as well as their painful discovery of life in the IDP Camp.

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