The Nigerian poet Romeo Oriogun wins the 2022 NLNG Prize for Literature for his poetry collection Nomad, described by the judges as containing “fresh language and a nostalgic engagement with the themes of exile and displacement.”
“It feels so weird to be in this moment,” tweets Oriogun, “I don’t know what to say other than I am grateful to the judges for finding “Nomad” worthy of the 2022 Nigeria Prize for Literature. I’m grateful to @SaddiqDzukogi & @Sueddieagema for this journey & for many more.”
Nigerian novelist Toni Kan shares a video capturing the moment Oriogun’s name was mentioned:
In every contest a winner must emerge. Grief, Exile and Memory are front and center in this year’s shortlist. Romeo Oriogun @SonOfOlokun takes the prize with his collection, Nomad. @thisislagos1 @thelagosreview @nigeriaLNG pic.twitter.com/Pwue5wXP0S
— TONI KAN (Aspaya2Inspaya) (@tonikan11) October 14, 2022
Oriogun was announced winner from a record-setting shortlist that included Su’eddie Vershima Agema for Memory and the Call of Water, and Saddiq Dzukogi for Your Crib, My Qibla. Oriogun joins an impressive cohort of laureates which includes, among others, Chika Unigwe, Mabel Segun, Tade Ipaedola, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, Akachi Adimora Ezeigbo, Oke Ikeogu, and Cheluchi Onyemelukwe.
The award ceremony was held on October 14 at the Eko Convention Centre at Eko Hotel and Suites in Lagos, Nigeria. The night, which was themed “Touching the Stars,” kicked off with a keynote address from former Head of State and President of Nigeria Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.
The NLNG Prize for Literature (also known as the Nigeria Prize for Literature) annually honors a published book by a Nigerian writer in a specific genre under review. With a cash prize of $100,000, it is regarded as one of the world’s richest prizes.
In a heartwarming show of generosity, Oriogun announced that he will be bequeathing ten percent of his winnings to the other finalists. We love to see writers being generous toward each other! Other instances of African writers showing love to fellow finalists by bequeathing part of their wins include NoViolet Bulowayo who gave up the residency package that came with her winning the Etisalat Prize to fellow finalist Yewande Omotoso, and 2015 Caine Prize winner Namwali Serpell who stunned the literary world when she split her $15,000 prize equally with the other four shortlists.
Congratulations to Romeo Oriogun!