Nigerian author and educator, Professor Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo has called on Nigerian writers to submit their books for this year’s edition of the Nigeria Prize for Literature sponsored by Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG).
Prof. Akachi, who is the present Chairperson, Advisory Board, NLNG Nigeria Prize for Literature., made this call in an interview with Okay.ng while on a public enlightenment drive for the submission of entries for the prize.
In the interview, she explained extensively on the criteria for shortlisting a winner among other processes.
Being once a winner of the Nigeria Prize for Literature and other prestigious awards in Nigeria. There are so many good writers of literature that cuts across different ages in the country, What are the foremost criteria for effectively selecting and shortlisting a writer that will eventually become a winner?
Well, we look at a particular genre because there are four genres. Prose, Poetry, Drama and Children’s Literature. So the criteria to use will depend on the Genre. But of course, the general criteria is good writing. There are certain things we demand that are required. The writing has to be good, control of good English, characterization if is prose.
But the general criteria is that the writing has to be good, the book has to be well-produced we can’t just accept something that is shoddy. Also, for this year only books published from 2018 to 2022 will be accepted.
Are children also welcomed to submit for the prize?
Yes, If a child writes a good book. It has nothing to do with age. That is the beauty of this prize. Anybody of any age, young or old can submit his or her work. It doesn’t matter who you are whether you’re a man or woman. This prize is based on excellence. So a young person can win it and also an elderly person.
How is the public enlightenment on the Prize going so far??
We are trying to publicize it to make the prize widely known. In the past, we have used things like social media platforms. NLNG has also publicized on their website. People can go there and get the details about the prize. We want more Nigerians to know about it.
Is it only Nigerians that can apply for Prize?
Yes, Nigerians in the country and also in the diaspora. That is why the requirement for submission is to provide your International Passport or NIN (National Identification Number).
As the chairperson of the advisory board, what is the selection process for the Prize?
There is a panel of judges. The advisory board oversees the prize and selects the judges while also looking at what they are doing. The board does not really determine essentially the different shortlist. The total submission of books are distributed to the judges and also the members of the advisory board. The judges are really the key assessors even though we are also part of it but they are very independent. They are three working together but also working independently.
The first list that the judges will determine will be the best fifty books out of the entire submission.
There is a stage where the long list of eleven will be released for the public. Eleven books are immediately widely advertised. So that the public and those that have written will know.
After the long list of eleven, the shortlist of three will emerge.
Following the emergence of the three books, there will be a final ceremony for a winner to be announced.
As a celebrated and successful writer, what advice will you give writers who want to apply for the prize?
We want to encourage all Nigerian writers who have written poetry to submit their work. One thing about prizes, you may not even win the prize but your book is given publicity if shortlisted. You will also learn one or two things if you’re partaking in it.