Soji Cole has emerged winner of this year’s Nigeria Prize for Literature sponsored by the Nigeria LNG Limited worth $100,000.
The Chair of the Advisory Board of the prize, Professor Emeritus Ayo Banjo made the announcement today, October 19 at the award presentation event for both the Nigeria Prize for Science and the Nigeria Prize for Literature, 2018, at Eko Hotels in Lagos.
He won with his play, Embers, beating the other two shortlisted contenders, Denja Abdullahi for Death and the King’s Grey Hair and Akanji Nasiru for The Rally.
Embers, by Soji Cole, focuses on life in one of the Internally Displaced People’s (IDP) Camps in Northern Nigeria. The characters give testimonies of their ugly encounters in Sambisa Forest, as well as their painful discovery of life in the IDP Camp.
A member of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Ibadan, Soji Cole teaches undergraduates play writing at the Department of Theatre Arts.
The chairman of the panel of judges Matthew Umukoro, is professor of Theatre Arts at the University of Ibadan. Other members of the panel include Mohammed Inuwa Umar – Buratai, professor of Theatre and Performing Arts and the Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the Ahmadu Bello University, (ABU), Zaria; and Ngozi Udengwu, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Theatre and Film Studies at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
The International Consultant to the Advisory Board for this year’s prize is Jonathan Haynes, professor of English at Long Island University in Brooklyn.
The science prize, which focuses on ‘Innovations in Electric Power Solutions’ this year, was presented to Dr. Peter Ngene, who won the $100,000 for his work in “Nanostructured metal hydrides for the storage of electric power from renewable energy sources and for explosion prevention in high voltage power transformers”.
The Advisory Board of the Nigeria Prize for Science chaired by the prize’s laureate, Prof. Akpoveta Susu, made the announcement of his emergence on Tuesday, October 9 in Lagos.
Prof. Isidore Diala won the Literary Criticism award for 2018. For, Prof Banjo said, “demonstrated industry and deserves the award”. He said his is “an excellent piece that can be used as a beacon for others to enter their works” even as he lamented the paucity of entries in that category and said the Advisory Board would look into making it more attractive to participants.
He is winning it for a second time.
Diala was thankful to the Nigeria LNG Limited for sponsoring the prize.
The Nigeria Prize for Literature rotates yearly amongst four literary genres: prose fiction, poetry, drama and children’s literature. The 2019 edition is for drama and comes with a cash prize of $100, 000. A total of 83 entries for the prize were received this year. Next year’s prize will be for children’s literature.