A Nigerian writer and journalist, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, has emerged as the winner of the 2016 Prize for literature. The Advisory Board of the Nigeria Prize for Literature, sponsored by Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG) announced the name of Abubakar Ibrahim after a nine-month long process of adjudication. The Prize is awarded with cash prize of $100, 000.

The announcement was made by the Chairman of the Advisory Board for the prize, Emeritus Professor Ayo Banjo at a press conference in Lagos.

Ibrahim’s novel, Season of Crimson Blossoms emerged winner from among 172 other entries received for the competition.

According to Professor Ayo Banjo: “it was a strong field this year. The shortlisted entries were very strong and the Board had no difficulty in accepting the recommendation of the panel of judges, considering the subject matter and competent manner in which Ibrahim demonstrated the execution of his work.”

Reacting to the verdict, the General Manager, External Relations at NLNG, Kudo Eresia-Eke, said: “it has been a very rigorous process and we are very happy that at the end of the day, both the International Consultant and the Panel of Judges came to an alignment. We are very proud of the quality of entries received.

“Let me reiterate very clearly that we will continue to support integrity and excellence, which are some of the pillars we have built NLNG’s success as a company on.”

The Nigeria Prize for Literature was reached by a panel of judges, led by Professor Dan Izevbaye, a well-respected literary critic and professor of Literature in English; Professor Asabe Usman Kabir, professor of Oral and African Literatures at Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto and Professor Isidore Diala, first winner of The Nigeria Prize for Literary Criticism and professor of African literature in the Department of English, Imo State University, Owerri.

The international consultant, Professor Kojo Senanu of the University of Legion, is an internationally acclaimed scholar. The panel had, through the Advisory Board, released a shortlist of eleven in July 2016 and later, a shortlist of three in September 2016.

The three shortlisted entries, in alphabetic order, were Born on a Tuesday (Elnathan John), Night Dancer (Chika Unigwe) and Season of Crimson Blossoms (Abubakar Adam Ibrahim).

Members of the Advisory Board for the Literature Prize, besides Professor Banjo, two-time Vice-Chancellor of Nigeria’s premier university, University of Ibadan, are Prof. Jerry Agada, former Minister of State for Education, former President of the Association of Nigerian Authors, and Professor Emeritus Ben Elugbe, former President of the Nigerian Academy of Letters and president of the West-African Linguistic Society (2004-2013).

The winning Author, who was born in Jos, holds a BA in Mass Communication from the University of Jos. His debut short story collection The Whispering Trees was longlisted for the inaugural Etisalat Prize for Literature in 2014, with the title story shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing. Ibrahim has won the BBC African Performance Prize and the ANA Plateau/Amatu Braide Prize for Prose.

He is a Gabriel Garcia Marquez Fellow (2013), a Civitella Ranieri Fellow (2015) and was included in the Africa anthology of the most promising sub-Saharan African writers under the age of 40. He was a mentor on the 2013 Writivism programme and judged the Writivism Short Story Prize in 2014.

His first novel, Season of Crimson Blossoms, was published in 2015 by Parrésia Publishers in Nigeria and by Cassava Republic Press in the UK (2016). Season of Crimson Blossoms was shortlisted in September 2016 for the NLNG Nigeria Prize for Literature, Africa’s largest literary prize.

It was announced on 12 October 2016 that Ibrahim was the winner of the $100,000 prize. Ibrahim is the recipient of the 2016 Goethe-Institute & Sylt Foundation African Writer’s Residency Award which he will take up at the Sylt Foundation´s headquarters in 2017. Ibrahim is the Arts Editor of the Daily Trust newspaper, and lives in Abuja, Nigeria.

Abubakar Ibrahim grew up wanting to tell stories by any means possible, including self-drawn comics. Eventually he started writing and published his debut short story collection, The Whispering Trees (Parresia Publishers, Lagos, 2012) to critical acclaim. It was longlisted for the inaugural Etisalat Prize for Literature and shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing.

Abubakar has won the BBC African Performance Playwriting Competition in 2007, the Amatu Braide Prize for Prose in 2008 and is a 2013 Gabriel Garcia Marquez Fellow and a 2015 Civitella Ranieri Fellow. He is included in the Hay Festival’s Africa 39 List of the 39 most promising African Writers under the age of 40. Season of Crimson Blossoms is his first novel.

His other Published works

Season of Crimson Blossoms (Nigeria: Parresia Publishers, 2015; UK: Cassava Republic Press, 2016)

“Painted Love” in Valentine’s Day Anthology 2015 (Ankara Press), 2015)

The Whispering Trees (Parresia Publishers, 2012;)

“Lily in the Moonlight” in The Gonjon Pin and Other Stories (New Internationalist, 2014)

“Echoes of Mirth” in Africa39: New Writing from Africa South of the Sahara (London: Bloomsbury, 2014)

“The Sunbird with a Broken Wing” (Cecile’s Writers Magazine, 2014)

“Night Calls” in Daughters of Eve and Other New Short Stories from Nigeria (CCC Press, 2010).

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