Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG) in conjunction with the Committee for Relevant Art (CORA) put together a modest book party on Sunday, August 8, 2021 for the 11 books shortlisted for Nigeria Prize for Literature 2021.
The book party returned with its 12th edition after it could not hold last year due to Covid-19 pandemic. The event was held in compliance with Covid-19 protocols at Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos. Others joined the event virtually.
The 11 books on the shortlist include Delusion of Patriots by Obianuju Chukwuorji, Give Us Each Day by Samuel Monye, Imminent River by Anaele Ihuoma, In The Name of Our Father by Olukorede Yishau and Mountain of Yesterday by Tony Nwaka.
Others are Neglected by Lucy Chiamaka Okwuma, The Colours of Hatred by Obinna Udenwa, The Girl with The Louding Voice by Abi Dare, The Return of Half- Something by Chukwudi Eze, The Son of The House by Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia and Your Church My Shrine by Law Ikay Ezeh.
Ten of the writers on the shortlist attended physically, except Abi Dare who joined virtually from outside the country. She was represented physically at the event by her mother.
Delivering an opening remark, secretary general of CORA Toyin Akinosho read an excerpt from Phebean Ogundipe’s Up-Country Girl. He also congratulated the board and management of NLNG on the milestones recorded.
NLNG’s corporate communications manager Sophia Horsfall also welcomed the audience in her speech.
Kick-starting the book reading was actor and culture activist Charles Ukpong. He read excerpts from Give Us Each Day by Samuel Monye and Mountain of Yesterday by Tony Nwaka.
Actors Francis Onwochei and Bimbo Manuel, actress Tina Mba and dramatist Achalugo also read excerpts from the other books.
Jojo and music group Magic Fingers provided entertainment in-between readings.
Co-host of The Morning Show on Arise TV and author of nine books, Rufai Oseni, helped the audience to meet the authors of the shortlisted books.
Nwaka, author of Mountain of Yesterday, said he began writing literature after he turned 50. His first book The Law of the Creeks was written about six years ago. Nwaka said he centred his shortlisted book on the evil practices women are subjected to in the Niger Delta.
“I’m a product of my environment. I was born in the midst of story tellers,” Ihuoma, author of Imminent River, said about his journey to becoming a writer. His book is centred on the slave trade and its aftermath.
Eze, an architect and author of The Return of Half-Something, said he made up his mind to get out of poverty through academics. He did not fail to highlight the fact that he designed the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library in Ogun State.
To wrap up the event, Horsfall urged the public to make out time to read. She also commended Nigerian writers for raising the bar in their narratives.
A shortlist of three is expected in September from which a winner will be announced by the advisory board for the prize in October.
The winner will be awarded a cash prize of $100,000.