In a celebration of literary excellence, the Nigeria Prize for Literature and the Rainbow Book Club recently hosted a bookfest in honour of three exceptional playwrights shortlisted for the 2023 edition of the prestigious Prize.
The event, held in Port Harcourt, was a literary extravaganza that featured captivating readings from the shortlisted plays and engaging sessions with the playwrights, both in person and virtually.
The three remarkable playwrights who graced the event were Abideen Abolaji Ojomu with Ojuelegba Crossroads, Henry Akubuiro presenting Yamtarawala – The Warrior King, and Obari Gomba with his work Grit.
In his address, Mr. Andy Odeh, General Manager of External Relations and Sustainable Development at NLNG, commended these talented writers, highlighting that their works had been chosen as the best from an impressive pool of 143 submissions for this year’s prize. He expressed his delight in bringing these gifted playwrights to Port Harcourt and emphasized that their excellence underscored the creative and resilient spirit of Nigerian writers.
Mr Odeh also urged the creative and entertainment industry to harness the immense talents showcased by the Nigeria Prize for Literature over the years, particularly in the Drama category, which has consistently produced outstanding winners.
In her speech, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Rainbow Book Club, Mrs. Koko Kolango, represented by Mrs Ijeoma Aruba, stressed the need for stakeholders in Port Harcourt to collaborate and bring back the glory of Port Harcourt as the World Book Capital.
“We must all join hands to bring back our World Book Capital. NLNG has set a good precedence by hosting this Bookfest. But it would take a collective effort to bring back our World Book Capital City and we all have a role to play. We can begin by bringing back our week-long Port Harcourt Book Festival. Our festival was a confluence of our city’s creatives, a melting point for information and ideas,” she stated.
Guests who graced the occasion included prominent figures such as Chief O.C.J. Okocha, Past President of the Nigerian Bar Association; Ibim Semenitari, former Rivers State Commissioner of Information; Sam Dede, a renowned Nollywood actor; and Mrs. Aleruchi Cookey-Gam, former Bonny Gas Transport Director, among others.
The three shortlisted entries were selected from a substantial pool of 143 submissions for this year’s prize, which centres on Drama. The eagerly awaited announcement of the winning entry is scheduled for October 2023.
The Nigeria Prize for Literature, a beacon of literary recognition sponsored by Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG), rotates annually among four genres: prose fiction, poetry, drama, and children’s literature, continually celebrating the richness of Nigerian literary talent.