Proudly Nigerian (A Tribute to Nigerian Literature)

The post in Ore's notes headlined "Who says Nigerians don't dig reading?" really got me pondering about my country and all the Nigerian stars that shine in and outside of Nigeria. Focusing on literature in particular, it is only right for me to start with Prof. Wole Soyinka, the 1986 nobel laureate --"who in a wide cultural perspective and with poetic overtones fashions the drama of existence"--




As well as being an author, he is a dramatist, playwright, poet and humanitarian. He has written several books and journals including - The Lion and the Jewel, The Trials of Brother Jero, The Open Sore of A Continent, Ake and his latest: You must Set Forth At Dawn.

I am very certain he is an inspiration to almost all the Nigerian poets, writers, journalists and playwrights out there.

He has sponsored prizes in literature such as:

  • The Wole Soyinka Award for Investigative Reporting on Human Rights Issues in Nigeria won by Bayo Ewuoso of The Punch. Some pictures of the winners and runners-up below (click to enlarge):


Personally, I am extremely proud of Nigeria in terms of literature as we are by a great feat the best in West Africa and the entire continent.

To name a few achievements:

  • Shola Oshunkeye was awarded the 2006 CNN African Journalist Award for his article, "Niger's Graveyard of the Living."
  • The Late Ezenwa Ohaeto won the NLNG Nigeria Literature Prize for his poetry collection, Chants of a Minstrel a few weeks before he died here in England.
  • Diana Omo Evans won last year's inaugural £10,000 Orange Prize for New Writers with her debut novel about a set of twins, 26a.

  • The book also won a Betty Trask award & Decibel Award and received a nomination for the Guardian First Book Award.
  • Writer of Purple Hibiscus, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was short-listed for the Caine Prize for African Writing. She won the O. Henry Award for Short Fiction 2003.
  • Her short stories were also selected for the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association and the BBC awards and they also won the PEN USA Center short story competition.
  • 18-year old Onyeka George Nwelue began to write at the age of eleven and won the THOMSON Short Story Prize in 2000 (at the age of twelve) with "Chants of a Poet"
  • He was nominated as the International Library of Poetry Best Poet of 2005, and won the Outstanding Achievement in Poetry Silver Bowl and the 2004 Afro Poet of the Year. He is presently both the founder and editor of Flames magazine and BritNig Poetry Club, based in Lagos, Nigeria and Wales, UK.
  • He also delivered the paper under the title, ‘The Trends of Contemporary Nigerian Literature’ at the Youth Literary Seminar, which recently took place at the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh.

I think I'll stop here today and come back with a part two sometime this week.

24 comments:

Don Chi as Blog Marley a.k.a. El Senor Supremo said...

We bloggers are poets/writers in our own right, yeah? It is good to see people doing things plus being recognized and appreciated. A blog alum doing us proud someday soon, perhaps? Onada, we're watching and waiting. In the meantime, try to check this out http://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=1-5988623-6-7. It's a book by a family friend which I embarrassingly haven't read yet but I know she is an awesome writer, so I am expecting only the best. Check it out sometime family. Good looks once again Mama Mona.

Mona said...

hmmm never heard of that book...cheers chichi...more stuff to come literature wise

E to the F said...

Hey Aramide, Love your blog! You've got me running to Amazon to check out those books!

Bella Naija said...

Hey Aramide,
great post.....i am sooo proud of my nigerian authors....
u forgot, Beasts of No Nation: A Novel...its by former finance minister Ngozi Iweala's son, Uzodinma Iweala....it was actually named as one of the 10 books of 2005 by TIME magazine...its a great book...a bit hard to read and swallow by great....keep it up

Mona said...

haha thanks babe...that was in my part 2! but good looking out! Thanks to Chichi too

Remi said...

I so wanted to buy that book, Beasts of No Nation when I was in Lagos back in December. It skipped my mind. Thanks for reminding me.

sokari said...

What a great and refreshing post - and yes Nigerians should definately be proud when it comes to literature.

sokari said...

PS you forgot Chris Abani who has won many awards - Graceland is especially worth reading and won the Hemmingway Foundatino/PEN Award; Nigerian writer Segun Afolabi has won this years (2006) Caine Prize for African Literature for his short story "Monday Morning" and another Nigerian Ike Okonta was on the shortlist.

Too Me to blog said...

Nice read, now we're waiting for the second part

Mona said...

Graceland was in my part 2 but not the rest :o) cheers xxx

the flying monkeys said...

keep seeing your footprints on my brother's blog (omo obokun)!
. You obviously are proud of your heritage and this makes me so proud of you and I am moved by this post. Excellent. I will visit again.

the flying monkeys said...

Oya Aramide second part gan na da?

Mona said...

lolll i am splitting it ppls! E ni suuru...tomorrow is another tribute entirely....watch out :o)

Barb said...

Isn't that funny...I just got home tonight and found someone had sent me Diane Evan's book 26a (how I love mystery parcels)and was thinking about how exciting it is to see all this creativity amongst Nigerians. I read Sefi Atta's book on holiday two weeks ago and loved it. A Nigerian friend is also about to release her film RagTag at the Venice Film festival. It really all is rather uplifting.

LondonBuki said...

I should be getting 26a very soon, I heard it was good.

Thanks for all this info, my friend is in Lagos now... my list of Nigerian books for him to bring back is increasing small small.

Let's see what you have tomorrow :-)

Remi said...

I agree with Sokari, Graceland is a must read.

Onada said...

i'm dying to read step forth at dawn. have u read it mona ? i wasnt really feel purple hibiscus at all, maybe in a year i will re read it and see how i feel!

Dimples said...

Nice one Mona..I should really start reading again..u have given me the motivation and list of books to start with...thanx hun

Aba Boy said...

As Sokari said, Nigerians should unquestionably be proud when it comes to literature. We surely stand out when it comes to creative writing. Excellent post

Calabar Gal said...

Mona!! Well done!! Ur research work is legendary in itself.(smile) I have heard about purple hibiscus myself and all the reviews it has gotten worldwide and am on the lookout for it once I get some free time for myself. Nigeians are sure delving steadily into the literary world with a bang. But I thinbk u left out young helen adewunmi who got a contract for her novels while writing her GCSE's or Alevels in England. She is of Nigerian Heritage also.

Dammie said...

Wole Soyinka fuels my soul!!......Gosh, so much great ppl in my country!!!!!

uzo said...

What about Uzo Okonjo Iweala? Upcoming write and his book Beast of No Nation is a must read. I think he is one to watch. The young lady that also wrote Icarus girl is pretty hot too.

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