Obari Gomba, Abideen Abolaji Ojomu, and Henry Akubuiro.

The 2023 Nigeria Prize for Literature announced its shortlist of three on August 23. The shortlisted writers are multitalented and include a university lecturer, chemical engineer, and arts journalist.

An annual award sponsored by the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG), the Nigeria Prize for Literature celebrates literary talent in the nation and awards a cash prize of $100,000. The stunning shortlist includes:

Grit by Obari Gomba

The Ojuelegba Crossroads by Abideen Abolaji Ojomu

Yamtarawala – The Warrior King by Henry Akubuiro

The Advisory Board of the Prize is comprised of chairperson Professor Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo and Professors Olu Obafemi and Ahmed Yerima. The Board announced the shortlist, remarking that these plays represent the pinnacle of literary craftsmanship and artistic convergence:

For Grit by Obari Gomba, the judges have applauded it as a great play that transcends its covers. Its pages unfold a captivating narrative that has clearly left an indelible mark and its production quality is nothing short of excellent.

The Ojuelegba Crossroads by Abideen Abolaji Ojomu has deeply resonated with the judges, who commend its rich exploration of our sociopolitical fabric. The play’s ability to confront everyday struggles and decision-making conflicts while aiming for a harmonious resolution underscores its significant impact.

Yamtarawala – The Warrior King by Henry Akubuiro captured the judges’ admiration for its dramatic twists, rendering it not only suited for the stage but also the screen. The narrative unfolds in ways that evoke a profound engagement and excitement.

We are thrilled with this year’s stunning drama shortlist and rooting for all three to do big things with their literary careers. Read about the talented writers below:

Obari Gomba teaches Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Port Harcourt. He has published the play Guerilla Post, the poetry collections For Every Homeland, Thunder Protocol, Length of Eyes, and Pearls of the Mangrove. He was the Honorary Fellow in Writing at the University of Iowa, and previously won the ANA Drama Prize in 2018 and the ANA Poetry Prize in 2017. He was also shortlisted for the Nigeria Prize for Literature in 2017 and 2013.

Abideen Abolaji Ojomu studied Chemical and Polymer Engineering at Lagos State University but has since turned toward acting, dancing, and writing. His written plays include Oiled Wheels and Woes of Warriors.

Henry Akubuiro is the Arts Editor/Assistant Saturday Editor of The Sun Newspaper. He holds an English & Literary Studies degree from Imo State University. He ias published two children’s books Adventures of Bingo and Bomboi and Little Wizard of Okokomaiko, and a novel Prodigals in Paradise.

This year’s judges include the chair Professor Ameh Dennis Akoh as well as Professor Osita Catherine Ezenwanebe and Dr Rasheedah Liman. The winner will be revealed on October 13. Stay tuned.

Congrats to the shortlisted writers!