The team of jurors for the inaugural Lagos Book and Art Festival (LABAF) award for Book Reviews a has announced the winner.
The team, headed by the poet, novelist, publisher and media entrepreneur, Toni Kan, selected three reviews from the entries, named a winner and delivered a consolation prize for the first runner up.
The call for submission of entries of reviews of Ken Saro Wiwa’s memoirs On A Darkling Plain was only on November 3 and participants were given just 11 days to submit reviews for a prize worth ₦250,000.
Below is the statement by Mr. Toni Kan
Our winning entry for the inaugural LABAF Prize for Book Review is commended form it’s language and critical rigour.
It is insightful, incisive and expansive exploring not just the content of the book, On A Darkling Plain, but elevating the discourse by paying especial attention to the literary and historical contexts that informed the memoir.
It goes further to expand on the effects and the role of the major dramatis personae, including Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu and Yakubu Gowon and of course the oil companies whose exploitation of the hydrocarbon continue to despoil Ogoni land.
Relying on secondary sources and textual analysis our reviewer highlights Saro Wiwa’s role, intentions and motives as an Ogoni and therefore a partisan observer or as our reviewer puts it, a “quasi-neutral” chronicler of that dark period of Nigeria’s history.
We are awarding the ₦250,000 2023 LABAF Prize for Book Review to Ajedoyin Olojede, a student of English Literature at the University of Ibadan, for her illuminating and enlightning review “The Road Towards a Darkling Plain and a Poet’s Renegotiation of Peace.”
We are also singling out 19 years old Ibiwari Ben ₦ 50,000 for honourable mention with an award of ₦50,000 donated by Toni Kan.
Ms. Olojede and the two runners up are expected as special guests at the Lagos Book & Art Festival at Freedom Park in Lagos, at 12.30pm on Saturday November 2 18, 2023, where Ms. Olojede will receive the award and also join the panel session entitled: Biafra Narratives: War Without End featuring reviews and discussions around On A Darkling Plain and Max Siollun’s Oil Politics & Violence: Nigeria’s Military Coup Culture 1966-1976. The winner is the only one that will be on the panel but the runners will have the an opportunity to enjoy the moment and be celebrated.