Chairperson of the board Professor Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo made the announcement in a live broadcast across the prize’s social media channels on Tuesday.
Other members of the board Professor Olu Obafemi and Professor Ahmed Yerima were present at the announcement.
The three shortlisted books are Grit by Obari Gomba, The Ojuelegba Crossroads by Abideen Ojomu and Yamtarawala – The Warrior King by Henry Akubuiro.
A total of 143 plays were entered for the competition, which focuses on drama.
Eleven books were longlisted in July ahead of the announcement of the final shortlist.
The Nigeria Prize for Literature carries a cash award of $100,000.
According to the board, the shortlisted plays stand tall in terms of dramatology, language, performance, story, and structure. It added that they represent the pinnacle of literary craftsmanship and the artistic convergence that The Nigeria Prize for Literature tirelessly seeks.
“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 socio-political 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 sense of engagement and excitement.”
“Our dedicated judges and the Advisory Board over the years have consistently worked together to seamlessly blend the contemporary heartbeat with the essence of Nigerian literature. This Shortlist serves as a testament to this harmonious fusion and the enduring legacy of our nation’s literary landscape,” Professor Adimora-Ezeigbo said.
The winner of the 2023 Nigeria Prize for Literature will be announced by the Advisory Board on October 13.
Professor Victor Yankah from the Department of Theatre and Film Studies, the University of Cape Coast, Ghana serves as the International Consultant for this year’s edition of the Prize.
The Nigeria Prize for Literature rotates yearly amongst four literary categories namely prose fiction, poetry, drama and children’s literature.