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The Nigeria Prize for Literary Criticism

Literature cannot be said to have evolved if it lacks a vibrant reading and critical culture. A healthy dose of literary criticism is therefore necessary for the sustenance and growth of literature.

Literary criticism aims to deepen interpretations, outlook and the craft of creative writing. It also places emphasis on a particular milieu, be it literary, historical or imaginary. Therefore literary criticism must be supported and encouraged for robust development and growth of creative writing.

These considerations led Nigeria LNG Limited to introduce a prize for literary criticism in 2012. The Nigerian Prize for Literary Criticism currently has a cash value of N1 million.

Since the aim of the Prize is to promote Nigerian literature, it is open to literary critics from all over the world critiquing Nigerian literature. 

For the purposes of this prize, Nigerian literature is defined as literature on Nigeria and the Nigerian experience and not literature written by a Nigerian. Special consideration is, however, be given to critical essays on the works of the new generation of Nigerian writers.

The winners of this Prize are presented at the public presentation of winners of The Nigeria Prize for Literature.

Submission/Participation Procedure 

  • For each year of the competition, contestants shall send in three or more critical essays published in a major literary/scholarly journal. The literary/scholarly journal must have a long and proven track record of dedication to excellence and must have an international circulation. Examples of such journals include but are not limited to Granta, Wasafiri, Ploughshares and Eclectica. It may be an online or traditional journal.
  • No critical essay previously submitted to this competition may be considered at a later date, even if major revisions have been made to it. 
  • Manuscripts shall not be considered. 
  • Entries not submitted by deadline and according to stated conditions shall not be considered.
  • Only entries published in the year of the competition or in the three years before then shall be considered.
  • No member of the Advisory Board or Panel of Judges can enter their essay(s) for The Nigeria Prize for Literary Criticism in the year they are serving.

The Advisory Board for Literature oversees the administration of The Nigeria Prize for Literary Criticism and the judges for The Nigeria Prize for Literature serve as judges for the Prize.

The meetings to review the entries for The Nigeria Prize for Literary Criticism are held concurrently with meetings for the administration of The Nigeria Prize for Literature.

Winners at a Glance
Year Winning Entry Writer/Critic
​Herstory versus ‘History’: A motherist rememory in Akachi Ezeigbo’s The Last of the Strong Ones and Chimamanda Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun
​Eyoh Asuquo Etim​

  • ​The black soul is (still) a white man’s artefact? Postcoloniality, post-
  • Fanonism and the tenacity of race(ism) in A. Igoni Barret’s Blackass
  • This uprising will bring out the beast in us: The cultural afterlife of ‘Beasts of no nations’
  • Writing about the dead in present tense: Half of a Yellow Sun as a work of postmemory
​Dr. Sakiru Adebayo 
  • Self-Publishing in the era of military rule in Nigeria, 1985 – 1999
  • Postcolonial Ogres in Ngugi Wa Thiong’o’s Wizard of the Crow
  • Land of cemetery: funereal images in the poetry of Musa Idris Okpanachi
Uchechukwu Peter Umezurike 

​Reinventing The Primordial: Human Blood Ritual and the Lure of Power In Esiaba Irobi’s Nwokedi” Dr Abba A. Abba
2018 Bayonets and Carnage of Tongues: The Contemporary Nigerian Poet Speaking Truth to Power Prof. Isidore Diala
2017 None No Winner
2016 None No Winner
2015 None No Winner
2014 Colonial Mimicry and Postcolonial Re-membering in Isidore Okpewho’s Call Me by My Rightful Name. Prof. Isidore Diala
​No Winner