After sifting through a submission pile of 214 novels from Nigerian writers the world over, the committee of judges headed by US-based professor, Abiola Irele, has come up with the shortlist for the LNG literary prize. The race is a close one and the stakes are dizzyingly high — 100, 000 US dollars! In the world of literary prizes, this is a bonafide jackpot. But of course the question on everyone’s mind is: Who Will Win? We’ll have to wait till next month when the award gala is held.

LNG Literary Prize Shortlist - Chika Unigwe, Tricia Nwaubani, Jude Dibia, Lola Shoneyin, Ngozi Achebe

Complete List of Writers Shortlisted for the LNG Literary Prize

1. Ngozi Achebe Onaedo: The Blacksmith’s Daughter
2. Ifeanyi Ajaegbo Sarah House
3. Jude Dibia Blackbird
4. Vincent Egbuson Zhero
5. Adaobi Tricia Nwuban I Do Not Come to You by Chance
6. Onuora Nzekwu Troubled Dust
7. Olusola Olugbesan Only a Canvas
8. Lola Shoneyin The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives
9. E E Sule Sterile Sky
10. Chika Unigwe On Black Sister’s Street

E-book entries were not accepted. If you have a novel in e-book format, do not despair. The press release announcing the shortlist says 2013 will be different.

If you are a Nigerian doing scholarly work in African literature, there is good news for you:

In addition, every year, three (3) scholars with critical works published in reputable foreign journals will be given honorary mention, commendation letters and a cash prize of US$5,000. This will encourage scholars all over the world to bring Nigerian literature to international attention. — LNG Literary Prize Press Release

Notice the stress on “reputable foreign journal?” Is it that there aren’t reputable academic journals in Nigeria? The answer is probably yes. Sad indeed. That said, I do praise the effort to recognize not just those who produce fiction but also the people behind the scenes who think and write about these works in interesting ways and contribute to furthering our knowledge and understanding of African culture. At the end of the day though the important things is that as an aspiring literary scholar, that 5000 dollars could be mine. Yes, it could very well be mine…In good time though. In good time 🙂