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The Nigeria Prize for Literature Competition

The Nigerian Prize for Literature is an annual literary competition to honour the author of the best book of the current year or the previous three years. The prize will rotate amongst four literary genres—prose fiction, poetry, drama & children's literature.

The competition is open only to published works. The competition bestows public recognition and a monetary award of $100, 000 on the winner. Two other writers will also be cited for honourable mention.

In addition to the immediate purpose of rewarding the authors of the best current writing, The Nigerian Prize for Literature has a number of other important goals. It is a means of making known to readers, publishers, booksellers and distributors, literary critics and reviewers, the latest achievements of the best writers in Nigeria. The competition contributes in a practical way to sustaining the tradition of excellence in Nigerian literature, discovering new authors and keeping older ones in focus.
The competition also serves to deepen awareness, among writers, of what literary excellence entails, by offering models and sources of inspiration. In this regard, the publicised comments of the judges' report are a means of clarifying what qualities are to be sought in good works of literature.
The publicity that comes with the awards is intended to have benefits beyond the immediate recognition for the winners. Specialists in the field of African literature are alerted to the presence of new works and writers whose achievements are worthy of scholarly attention. Through channels of information dissemination, such as the Internet, those in the international community interested in contemporary literature are also provided with an opportunity to learn about these achievements.
Finally, it is hoped that this prize will encourage publishers to be increasingly active on the literary scene, by bringing out, advertising and distributing more of the best current writing. Some of the judges' comments will concern the important role of publishers in fostering good writing, and in particular, the importance of careful editing, especially of children's books. Too often, authors feel that their main options are either to self-publish, which means bringing out unassessed and usually improvable books, or to publish abroad, relinquishing what should be their primary audience. This prize seeks to recognize those who are doing the most for Nigerian literature.
It is in everyone's long-term interest to make good writing known and more easily available, so that the local reading public grows and the market for books in turn expands.

Only one entry per contestant is permitted for entry each year. Six copies of the entry may be submitted either by the author or the publisher, in accordance with the prize in competition. The aim is to improve the literature value chain and to ensure that winning books are available to local audience and that literary activities from writing, editing, assessing, printing and publishing in the country are enhanced as a result of this competition.
Books not submitted to Nigeria LNG Limited's External Relations Department, promoters of the prize, by the deadline and according to stated conditions will not be considered.
This being an annual competition, the copyright on published works submitted must bear either the current or previous three years' date. For example, published books competing for prizes in 2004 cannot bear copyrights earlier than 2001.
Complete contact information, including email, should accompany each submission. As the intention of the prize is to recognize the best author in each genre, anthologies of poems or stories by more than one author should not be submitted. The only conceivable exception might be a work of collaboration—not an anthology—by two or more authors, who would then divide any prize money. In some cases, the writer may have reason to employ a pseudonym.
An author in any competition will enter only one published book. Manuscripts will not be considered. And no book previously submitted for this competition in published form may be resubmitted at a later date, even if major revisions have been made or a new edition published.

In all cases judges shall evaluate the entries as literary texts, and scope, maturity, and integrity of writing, depth of vision, thematic engagement and general contribution to the province of literature may be considered.

Nigeria LNG Limited intends that The Nigeria Prize for Literature and The Nigeria Prize for Science will be pre-eminent prizes, widely acclaimed for the integrity of their judging process and the prestige of their prizes. In doing this, the company insists not only on fair judging, but an open and transparent process. It also insists that the prize will be awarded for no reason other than excellence.

A panel of about three judges will be appointed by the advisory board for the prize to assess all the submitted works according to category. They will be respected academics and/or writers, known for their objectivity, broad knowledge of literature, and catholic taste. They should be experienced in evaluating new writing and unlikely to be influenced by the reputation, position or previous achievements of some of the competing authors. Efforts should be made to achieve a balance, between the judges, of gender, articulacy and role. And once they are appointed, they are in charge of the process, without interference from the advisory board.
Appointment of judges will be by secret ballot by members of the advisory committee who will meet from time to time to review the rules and progress of the prize and to ratify the appointment of judges.

Panel decisions for each category will be announced as one prize-winner and two runners-up/recipients of honourable mention. Names of publishers will be included along with the titles and authors of the three books. Panelists will jointly prepare a written report on the selected works. They are encouraged to include general observations on submissions to individual categories and anything else that may be helpful in promoting writing and publishing excellence. The panel of judges will announce their final decision at an awards ceremony or in the absence of that a world press conference.

The The panel will not be beholden to announce a winner in any category if it does not find any of the entries worthy of the award. The judges will announce the winners at a World Press Conference.
The winner of the prize and the publisher will be encouraged to make generous donations of the winning entry to educational institutions across the country.
More information available at:

  • Nigeria LNG Limited's website –
  • Secretariat: External Relations Division, Nigeria LNG Limited, Intels Camp, KM 16 Port Harcourt-Aba Expressway, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria


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Professor Ayo Banjo, Professor Akachi Ezeigbo & Dr Jerry Agada Speak about the Nigeria Prize for Literature, August 13th 2011