It was a dark day for Children’s literature in October 2015 when the Nigeria LNG issued a press release stating that there will be no winner for this year’s Nigeria Prize for Literature because all the entries were not worthy of the prize.
The Nigeria LNG prize for literature is one of Africa’s most prestigious literary prizes. Established in 2004, it awards a whopping $100,000 (over N25 million) to one Nigerian writer every year. The prize rotates yearly amongst four literary genres: prose fiction, poetry, drama and children’s literature.
This year, 2015, was to be dedicated to children’s literature. Unfortunately, none of the 109 entries submitted for the prize scaled through, in fact, 89 of the 109 entries did not meet the preliminary requirements. According to the spokesperson for Nigeria LNG, entries were required to be creative works with aesthetic and social values for children.
However, he further stated that the prize money would be devoted to conducting a workshop on writing for children; a workshop designed to increase the overall quality of children’s literature in Nigeria.
The creative writing workshop took place from the 9th to the 11th of December at Eko Hotel, Lagos. The workshop participants were the applicants whose entries made it past the first stage of the screening process for the prize. They spent three days and nights at Eko Hotel under the tutelage of Professor Akachi Ezeigbo, Professor of English Language, Dr. Helen Limon, award-winning writer and teacher of Writing for Children at Newcastle University and National Center for Children’s Books, UK and Professor Kim Reynolds, Professor of Children’s Literature of the Newcastle University, UK and past President of the International Research Society for Children’s Literature.
Proceedings of the workshop will be collated and published for the benefit of those who were unable to attend.
It was a huge step in the right direction.. So we thank the NLNG for making this possible and hope that they make this an annual occurrence.
Hopefully, in 2019, there will be so many good entries that the judges will have a tough time deciding on a winner.