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Tanure Ojaide.

The 2017 Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Prize for Literature has unveiled its shortlist, and it comprises three poetry collections: Tanure Ojaide’s Songs of Myself: Quartet, Ogaga Ifowodo’s A Good Mourning, and Ikeogu​​ Oke​’s The Heresiad.​​ The longlist had eleven poets.​

At $100,000, the NLNG Prize for Literature is the richest in Africa, and honours a published book of literature. It rotates among four genres: poetry, prose fiction, drama, children’s literature. The year 2017 is for poetry.

Published by Kraft Books Ltd., Tanure Ojaide’s Songs of Myself: Quartet “explores paradoxes in contemporary times expressed in discursive lyricism” and “reflects the journey to the deepest vicissitudes of the adventurer himself.” Winner of the Commonwealth Poetry Prize for Africa Region, the All-Africa Okigbo Prize for Poetry, the BBC Arts and African Poetry Award, and an Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) Poetry Award, Ojaide is currently a Fellow at the University of Iowa.

Ogaga Ifowodo.

Published by Parresia Books, Ogaga Ifowodo’s A Good Mourning “focuses on the tragedy, ambiguity and contradictions of human experience recreated from poetic vision and language.” A lawyer, scholar and development activist, Ifowodo holds a doctorate in postcolonial literary and cultural studies from Cornell University, USA.

Ikeogu Oke.

Also published by Kraft Books Ltd., Ikeogu Oke’s The Heresiad “employs the epic form in questioning power and freedom” and “probes metaphorically the inner workings of societies and those who shape them.” A journalist, Oke is an alumnus of both the University of Ibadan and the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

The 2017 judges are: Tade Ipadeola, winner of the 2013 prize, which was the last prize for poetry, for his collection, The Sahara Testaments; Razinat Mohammed, associate professor of literature at the Universty of Maidugri; and the chair, Ernest Enenyonu, professor of Africana Studies at the University of Michigan-Flint, USA.

The 2016 prize, for prose fiction, went to Abubakar Adam Ibrahim’s novel, Season of Crimson Blossoms. The 2017 winner will be announced in October.

Congratulations to Tanure Ojaide, Ogaga Ifowodo and Ikeogu Oke.

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Otosirieze is deputy editor of Brittle Paper. He is a judge for the 2018/19 Gerald Kraak Prize. He is an editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective, which has published volumes including We Are Flowers (2017) and The Inward Gaze (2018). He is the curator of the Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies of writing and visual art focusing on different aspects of Nigerianness, including Enter Naija: The Book of Places (2016), which explores cities, and Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (2017), which explores professions. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition. He has completed a collection of short stories, You Sing of a Longing, is working on a novel, and is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He combined English and History at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, is completing a postgraduate degree in African Studies, and taught English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts writing and editing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze. When bored, he Googles Rihanna.

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