By Henry Akubuiro
Dr. Onyeka Nwelue, Dean, School of Cinematography, Queensland University, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and Visiting Fellow, University of Oxford, has initiated a set of new literary prizes in honour of celebrated Nigerian literary scholar and writer, Prof. Akachi Ezeigbo.
Also, Dr. Ifeoma Ezinne Odinye, a literary scholar, has been appointed the Director of the Akachi Ezeigbo Prize for Literature. A statement signed by Dr. Onyeka Nwelue, on behalf of Abibiman Publishing, who instituted the prize, described Prof Ezeigbo as the Mother of Modern African Literature.
He added, “It’s very important to celebrate Professor Ezeigbo now that she is here. I grew up, reading her work. I became a university teacher, because of the opportunity she gave to me at 21. This prize will be in 5 categories for published works, and the brilliant Dr. Odinye will decide on the direction it will take —to honour Professor Ezeigbo.”
The Akachi Ezeigbo Prize for Literature will be in 5 categories for published works in English:
1. Akachi Ezeigbo Prize for Poetry
2. Akachi Ezeigbo Prize for Fiction
3. Akachi Ezeigbo Prize for Children’s Literature
4. Akachi Ezeigbo Prize for Drama
5. Akachi Ezeigbo Prize for Non-Fiction
More details about the prize will be announced on September 5th, 2022, according to the organisers.
Professor Ezeigbo is author of over 50 books and an educator, whose published works include novels, poetry, short stories, books for children, essays and journalism. She is the winner of several awards in Nigeria, including the Nigeria Prize for Literature. She is also the Chairperson of the Advisory Board for the Nigeria Prize for Literature.
The prize administrator, Dr. Odinye, is currently the Vice President of the Oxford-based James Currey Society and a Senior Lecturer in the Department of English Language and Literature, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka. She specialises in Creative Writing, Gender Studies, Comparative Literature and Postcolonial Literatures. Dr. Odinye is the author of Pain in the Neck (2018), her debut novel, among others.
She is also a member of Creative Literary Giants, Association of Nigerian Authors, Writers and Authors Promotion, Prolific Fiction Writers Community, and Author’s Networking Group.