By Edward Nawotka
At a gala held in Abjua, Nigeria Saturday night, twelve judges failed to settle on a winner for the $50,000 Nigeria Prize for Literature. It is the second time since the prize was inaugurated in 2004 that no winner was announced.
The prize, sponsored by Nigeria LNG Limited (the state natural gas production company), is intended to “improve the quality of writing, editing, proofreading, and publishing in the country” and as a way of “promoting writing, literacy and good reading culture among Nigerians.”
This year’s prize was for poetry and attracted 163 nominees; in September a list of nine finalists was announced, including Omo Uwaifo (Litany); Ahmed Maiwada (Fossils); Lindsay Barrett (A Memory of Rivers); Odoh Diego Okenyodo (From a Poem to its Creator); Hyginus Ekwuazi (Love Apart); Musa Idris Okpanachi (The Eaters of the Living); Ademola Dasylva (Songs of Odamolugbe); Nengi Josef Ilagha (January Gestures) and G’ebinyo Ogbowei (Song of a Dying River). For an overview of the finalists’ work, see this article from the The Guardian (Nigeria).
In Spain the very generous Planeta Prize has announced ten finalists for the award, which will be presented on October 15 at a gala at the Catalonia Palace of Congresses in Barcelona, Spain. Six of the ten finalists are authors writing under pseudonyms, which makes one wonder what so many Spanish-language writers could possibly have to hide? Both the Winner and runner-up will be happy, with the winner taking home €610,000 and the runner-up pocketing a not insignificant €150,000.