Literary critic and lecturer, Dr Ifeoma Ezinne Odinye, is the director of the newly established Akachi Ezeigbo Prize for Literature.
This was made known in a press statement by Abibiman Publishing founder, Onyeka Nwelue, who instituted the prize in honour of Professor Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo, known as the Mother of Modern Nigerian Literature.
Professor Ezeigbo is author of over 50 books and an educator, whose published work includes novels, poetry, short stories, books for children, essays and journalism. She is the winner of several awards in Nigeria, including the Nigeria Prize for Literature.
She is chairperson of the Advisory Board for the Nigeria Prize for Literature.
Commenting on the appointment, Nwelue said: “It’s very important to celebrate Professor Ezeigbo now that she is here. I grew up, reading her work. I became a university teacher, because of the opportunity she gave to me at 21. This prize will be in five categories for published works and the brilliant Dr Odinye will decide on the direction it will take – to honour Professor Ezeigbo.”
Below are the five categories in the prize for published works in English.
1. Akachi Ezeigbo Prize for Poetry
2. Akachi Ezeigbo Prize for Fiction
3. Akachi Ezeigbo Prize for Children’s Literature
4. Akachi Ezeigbo Prize for Drama
5. Akachi Ezeigbo Prize for Non-Fiction
Dr Odinye is currently the Vice President of the Oxford-based James Currey Society and she is a Senior Lecturer in the department of English Language and Literature, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka; where she graduated with a First Class Honours in 2006.
Notably, she is the pioneer First Class Honours graduate of the department.
She has Master’s degree in Literature in 2014 and Doctorate degree in 2019 from the same department.
She studied at Renmin University, Beijing, China in 2008-2009. She has a Master’s degree in Chinese Philosophy from Xiamen University, China in 2012.
Her areas of specialisation are Creative Writing, Gender Studies, Comparative Literature and Postcolonial Literatures.
Currently, she is a Senior Lecturer on dual appointment in the departments of Chinese Studies and English Language and Literature of the aforementioned university.
She has published articles, poems and novels. Pain in the Neck (2018) is her debut novel. African-China (2019) is her second novel—a sequel to her debut. These are diasporic novels—a leap into the Asian worldview and Nigerians’ bizarre experiences in diaspora.
She also has to her credit; a collection of poems titled At Sunset (2018).This collection contains the award winning poem “Zion’s Zest” in the 2018 Annual (EWC) Eclectic Writers Community International Poetry Competition. Another poem, “Hundreds of Days in Darkling Adventure” also won the AIFEST COVID 19 “Grade A” Level in an Indian competition in 2020 and published in the Indian Anthology titled, Agony and Ecstasy of Covid-19.
She is currently a member of Creative Literary Giants, Association of Nigerian Authors, Writers and Authors Promotion, Prolific Fiction Writers Community and Author’s Networking Group.
More details about the Prize will be announced on 5 September 2022.