This morning, Kudo Eresia Eke GM of Corporate Affairs at the NLNG announced the winner of this year’s prize.
Tade Ipadeola, with The Sahara Testaments, emerged winner of the biggest literary prize in Africa which comes with $100,000 cash prize after beating off stiff competition from the two other poets on the shortlist Ogochukwu Promise And Chidi Amu Nnadi.
The announcement was made at a world press conference which held at the Coral Hall of the Ocean View Restaurant in Victora Island, Lagos.
Announcing the winning poet and collection, Kudo Eresia Eke described Tade as using “the Sahara as a metonymy for the problems of Africa and that of the whole world. It encompasses vast stores of knowledge. Demonstrates a striking marriage of thoughts expressed in the blending of sound and sense.”
Reacting to his win, Tade Ipadeola said “this is joyful news, joyful news. This is the biggest prize in Africa and it is surreal. I am grateful.”
In his opening remarks, Kudo Eresia Eke, had ealier noted that the NLNG by “sponsoring excellence will galvanize our country to be more reverential of excellence. We will also inspire other corporate organizations to do the same. “
With this win, TADE Ipadeola becomes the newly minted NLNG Prize winner, a prize that rotates annually around four genres: poetry, prose, drama and children’s literature.
Dr. Agada and Head of judges, Professor Egudu were supported by the other members of the advisory board and judges; Professor Elugbe, Professor Ogundipe Molara Leslie and Dr. Andrew Aba as well as Professor Kofi Anyidoho who served as this year’s International consultant to the advisory board. Kaine Agary, winner of the Prize in 2008, was also on hand.
This year’s prize received 201 entries which were first whittled down to 11 and then the 3 that made it to the finals. It featured two female poets, debutante Iquo Eke and veteran Promise Okekwe. Okekwe made it to the finals. There was also a strong showing from writers in the diaspora like Afam Akeh, Obi Nwakanma and Amatoritsero Ede.
Last year’s prize was won by Belgium based Chika Unigwe for her novel On Black Sisters Street making her the first foreign based Nigerian writer to win the prize which was hitherto reserved for Nigerian writers living in Nigeria.