The Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) has announced the shortlist for the 2022 Nigeria Prize for Literature, and it is, without doubt, the most exciting one yet.
For the first time in the prize’s history, all three finalists are young, fresh voices in the Nigerian literary scene. The shortlisted writers and books are Memory and the Call of Water by Su’eddie Vershima Agema, Nomad by Romeo Oriogun, and Your Crib, My Qibla by Saddiq Dzukogi.
The unveiling of the list has generated positive buzz across social media, with many excited about the judge’s selection, demonstrating a shift from the recurring pattern of excluding emerging writers.
The three finalists were selected from an earlier longlist of eleven and are all first time nominees. The winner of the prize, which will be announced soon, will receive a cash award of $100,000 and a plaque. Previous winners of the prize include Cheluchi Onyemelukwe, Jude Dibia, Oke Ikeogwu, Tade Ipeadola, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, and Chika Unigwe.
Read some brief comments from the judges and the author’s bio below:
Memory and the Call of Water
“In this collection, there is a persistent use of memory to reflect on life and destiny through the metaphor of water.”
Su’eddie Vershima Agema is the author of the poetry collections, Bring our Casket Home: Tales one Shouldn’t Tell, and Home Equals Holes: Tale of an Exile, and a short story collection, The Bottom of Another Tale. He is a past Chairman of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) (Benue State Chapter) as well as Council Member, National Teen Authorship Scheme.
“The collection has a fresh language and a nostalgic engagement with the themes of exile and displacement.”
Romeo Oriogun is the author of Sacrament of Bodies (University of Nebraska) and three chapbooks. He is the winner of the 2017 Brunel International African Poetry Prize. A finalist for the Lambda Prize for poetry and for The Future Awards African Prize for Literature, he has received fellowships and support from Ebedi International Writers Residency, Harvard University, Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, Oregon Institute for Creative Research, and the IIE- Artist Protection Fund. His poems have appeared in Poetry, Havard Review, American Poetry Review, Poetry London, The Poetry Review, Narrative Magazine, The Common, and others. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, his poems have been translated into several languages.
Your Crib, My Qibla
“This volume translates tragedy into lyrical poetry with patels and effortless imagery.”
Saddiq Dzukogi holds a degree in mass communication from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (Nigeria), and is pursuing a PhD in English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. A 2017 finalist of the Brunel International African Poetry Prize, he is the author of Inside the Flower Room, selected by Kwame Dawes and Chris Abani for the New Generation African Poets Chapbook series. Dzukogi’s poems have appeared in the Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner, Gulf Coast, World Literature Today, New Orleans Review, Oxford Poetry, African American Review, Best American Experimental Writing, and elsewhere.
Congratulations to the shortlisted authors!