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By McDonald Tontoh, in Port Harcourt

The 13th CORA-NLNG Book party for the shortlisted authors for the Nigeria Prize for Literature (NPL) will hold on August 7, 2022 at Shell Hall in Muson Centre in Lagos.

It is jointly organized by Committee for Relevant Art (CORA) and Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Ltd, in honour of the 11 poets shortlisted for the 2022 edition of the NPL.

The event is scheduled for 3pm on August 7, 2022

It’s time for Highlife, Ladies and Gents…

The NLNG Ltd is the sponsor of the NPL which, with $100,000, is the largest purse for any literary award focused on African writing.

The Book Party affords members of the public the opportunity to interact with the authors on their shortlisted works.

“The party helps to promote a reading culture especially among young Nigerians, engage relevant publics in literature, academia and the media and stimulate public interest in the Longlisted works and the NPL”, says Andy Odeh, NLNG Ltd’s General Manager External Relations and Sustainable Development.

Party maker….CORA chief, Jahman Anikulapo, second to the far right, in green, poses with friends

The 11 collections of poems shortlisted for the 19th NPL include, in alphabetical order:

  1. Augusta’s Poodle – Ogaga Ifowodo, 2. Coming Undone As Stitches, Tighten – Iquo DianaAbasi, 3. Dispossessed – James Eze
  2. Ife Testament – Olusegun Adekoya, 5. Memory and the Call of Waters – S. Su’eddie Agema, 6. Neglected – Lucy Chiamaka Okwuma
  3. Nomad – Romeo Oriogun, 8. The Lilt of the Rebel – Obari Gomba, 9. The Love Canticles – Chijioke Amu Nnadi, 10. Wanderer Cantos – Remi Raji, 11. Yawns and Belches– Joe Ushie
Past champions…celebrants, in 2021, fielded questions from Arise TV’s Rufai Oseni

The $100,000 NPL is the biggest cash prize award for a literary competition on the continent. “Although that is quite some significant amount of money in anyone’s account, CORA sees, in it an opportunity for the creation of an entire economy around the book trade”, says Jahman Anikulapo, Programme Chair of CORA, who conceived the idea of the book party during a review of the first five years of the award in 2009.

Sophia Horsfall, NLNG Ltd’s Manager, Communications & Public Affairs, ‘jigs’ to the music

The review was organized in response to calls that the prize should do more than a glamourous Gala night in which one author got rich, but the Nigerian book trade and literary scene as a whole didn’t seem elevated. Sympathisers of the award argued that the NLNG Ltd, through NPL, could not alone wipe out the entrenched challenges of the Nigerian literary landscape.

The party last time….the actress Tina Mba with the then would be winner, Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia

Anikulapo, a technically honed culture journalist and former editor of The Guardian on Sunday, says that CORA believes “that a full ecosystem of the book trade is still possible in spite of the age of twitter, That we can have robust, publishing, book clubs, authors’ appearances to audiences to read everywhere from Okokomaiko to Maitama; bookshops in traditional markets, in shopping malls, online sales of ebooks and audiobooks, active proliferation of book blogs, book reviews everywhere; libraries in every corner from Ajangbadi to Kaura Namoda; indeed, as the distinguished Poet Odia Ofeimun once said: the Cocacolanisation of Books is still possible”.

The Party last time…Dame of Nigerian Theare, Taiwo Ajai- Lycett, left, with CORA programme officer, Feyi Adelakun
  • The August 7 Book Party will start at 3pm and end at 6pm. The event will be both physical and virtual.
  • The 11 Writers being celebrated will be expected to join Physically in the room. But provision would be made for those abroad to join virtually.

 

 

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