Nwachukwu-Agbada, Sasi Miet Jajja, Uchenna Eze, Ernest Ogundipe and others have emerged winners of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), 2018 Literary Awards.
Boosting seven category awards with a cash prize of N100,000 and the award highest prize of N200,000, winners were announced on the Awards Night closing the association’s 37th International Convention, recently.
Clinching the winning spot for the ANA Abubakar Gimba Prize for Short Stories for his work Justice Club is Sasi Miet Jajja, who walked away with a N200,000 cash prize; while J O J Nwachukwu-Agbada’s Bombblast or Breakfast, Obari Gomba’s Guerilla Post, Uchenna Eze’s The Longest Trial, and Jide Ogunlana’s Primrose and The Kidnappers, cinched the literary prizes for Poetry, Drama, Prose Fiction and Children’s Literature respectively. Meantime, Ebi Yeibo’s Nativisation as Style and Identity Marker in Barclay Ayakoroma’s Dance on His Grave, the sole nominee in its category, walked off with the ANA Maria Ajima Prize for Literature.
Emerging the first winner of the ANA NECO Teen Author Prize Award is Ernest Ogunyemi. The 18-year-old Senior Secondary student at Baptist Boy’s High School, Ogun State, said the inspiration to pen Tomorrow Brings Beautiful Things, a short story collection, came from an observation of the every day living. The work, still a manuscript, draws from his life, those around him and some inspired by his father and late mother.
Appreciating the help of his father who supported his writing dreams, by paying for his submission into the contest and travel, and his teacher who aided him with the use of his laptop for typing out his manuscript, Ogundipe said he would be investing his winnings on a personal computer and the purchase of five contemporary literature books for his school library.
Understanding the importance of reading to writing, Ogunyemi said reading furnishes one with the skills to write better. Moreover, his inability to apply for certain writing competitions for lack of funds to purchase the relevant books for review, weighed in on the decision to make such books available to his schoolmates.
Speaking of the young writers, Ogundipe and the sixteen-year-old Chibundum Kosisochukwu Ndukwe, whose published prose, If You Looked Inside A Girl, place 1st runner up, ANA President, Mallam Denja Abdullahi, said the prize is aimed at encouraging young writers.
“When I saw the work by the young man, I had my doubts whether he was truly the writer. So, we investigated, and visited his school. The day we visited he was in class and he was sent to meet us. We awarded his work because we saw his potential to becoming a good writer,” says Abdullahi.
Other winners at the awards include Onyeka Nwelue, whose The Beginning of Everything placed 1st runner-up in the ANA Prose Fiction Prize, followed Bola Olatunde’s Hang No Clothes; Amechi Obumse’s Saint Ojedi, which took the second in the ANA Drama Prize over Achalugo Ezekobe’s Mr Brother; and Umar Sidi’s The Poet of Dust, which took second place over Nwelue’s The Lagos Cuban Jazz Club in the ANA Poetry Prize category. In the ANA Abubakar Gimba Short Story Award Things That Start Small But Sweet made first runner-up over Emmanuel Asika’s Vacancy For The Post Of A Bride in third place; while double authored work Nwauwa, The Girl With Big Dreams by Paschal Okeke and Vera Chuks-Iwuchukwu knocked down poet Su’eddie Vershima Agema Once Upon A Village to third place to take second position at the awards.
The ANA Literary Awards is one of the few annual events that awards efforts of writers, young and old, across the country. While it may not pack as much prize money as the NLNG Prize for Literature, it offers as much prestige and exposure for its winning writers and their works. And often times is a starting point for writers as Prof Ahmed Yerima, and Soji Cole, winner of the NLNG 2018 Prize for Literature, whose short story collection won an ANA Award.
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