The NLNG Nigeria Prize for Literature has revealed its 2022 longlist, which observers are calling one of the most diverse in the award’s history.
Nominees include Nomad author Romeo Oriogun, recently profiled in Open Country Mag’s The Next Generation special issue, and fellow poets Iquo DianaAbasi, Su’eddie Vershima Agema, Obari Gomba, Chijioke Amu Nnadi, and Saddiq Dzukogi, whose My Crib, My Qibla was, like Oriogun’s, on our list of the most anticipated books of 2022. It is the prize’s best attempt to include younger voices who now dominate the scene.
Organized by Nigeria Liquefied and Natural Gas, the biennial prize began in 2004 and rotates among the genres of fiction, poetry, drama, and children’s literature. At $100,000, it is the richest in Africa.
Previous winners include novelists Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, and Chika Unigwe, dramatists Jude Idada, Soji Cole, and Sam Ukala, and poets Ikeogu Oke and Tade Ipadeola.
This year is for poetry and considers books published in the last four years.
The judging panel is chaired by Professor Sule Emmanuel Egya and includes Toyin Adewale-Gabriel and Dike Chukwumerije. Former winner Professor Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo is chair of the advisory board, which also counts Professors Olu Bafemi and Ahmed Yerima, another former winner, as members.
Here is the longlist, with the judges’ citation.
Augusta’s Poodle by Ogaga Ifowodo
This volume has a distinct feature of deploying oral tradition, memory, and childhood to reflect on the vagaries of life.
Coming Undone as Stitches Tighten by IquoDiana Abasi
The collection has a strong oral quality and exhibits a seamless transition from performance poetry to print poetry.
Dispossessed by James Eze
This collection is distinguished by its introspective style with images that build intimacy with the reader.
Ife Testament by Segun Adekoya
The collection is distinguished by the scope of its subject matter coupled with brilliant experimentations in form and style.
Memory and the Call of Water by Su’eddie Vershima Agema
In this collection, there is a consistent use of memory to reflect on life and destiny through the metaphor of water.
Nomad by Romeo Oriogun
The collection has a fresh language and a nostalgic engagement with the themes of exile and displacement.
The Lilt of the Rebel by Obari Gomba
An exceptionally lyrical reflection on diverse social issues.
The Love Canticles by Chijioke Amu Nnadi
This volume exhibits an elevated use of language in its engagement with the powerful theme of love.
Wanderer Cantos by Remi Raji
This book engages a medley of public and personal issues, experiments with diverse forms as well as indigenous language.
Yawns and Belches by Joe Ushie
This collection has a strong social tenor crafted with witticism and fresh metaphors.
Your Crib, My Qibla by Saddiq Dzukogi
This volume translates tragedy into lyrical poetry with pathos and effortless imagery.
The judges picked the longlist from 287 submissions. They will announce a three-name shortlist in September, and the winner in October.