Five finalists have made the list of 2019 AFIRE Linda Ikeji Prize for Literature. In our earlier report, we told you that the popular prize for upcoming and emerging writers of African descent received hundreds of entries (Scroll down for earlier report).
From 16, the list has been screened to five writers. One of them will go home with N1 million.
Africa’s richest blogger Linda Ikeji is the sponsor of the writing competition. The competition is open to writers of any African nationality in the English language from anywhere in the world.
According to the Editor of AFIRE, Odega Shawa the 5 selected writers on the short list Linda Ikeji Prize for Literature 2019 edition are:
- Evans Ufelli
- Oluwaseyi Adebola
- Eleanya Ndukwe Jnr
- Ojoi Igajah
- Edidiong Edet
Eleanya Ndukwe Jnr,
Afrocentric Cinematic Creations and Analyses: Selected Essays
Rising from a background of both the grim and brutal reality of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and the exploitative partition of Africa at the Berlin Conference in 1884, Ndukwe Jnr’s critical analysis of the contemporary African creative force shouts – and very loudly too – that it is time.
Time for what, one may ask? The essays, all organically related at that deeper level of discourse with which African civilizations baffled gawking early colonialists, say simply that the African genius is valid genius, period.
There is evidence for this in the rush of creative flood from the continent that has watered global conversations across all genres and cadres of art.
The rhetoric captures the warmth of African family in a discourse context, ‘rooted in historical relevance’ that ‘directly connects to the issues that have plagued and continue to plague Africans within Motherland Africa and in the diaspora.’
A graduate student of Political Science concentrating on International Relations and Diplomacy at California State University, Los Angeles, Ndukwe Jnr is also a columnist for The Guardian in Nigeria.
A Dream in the Jungle
Review: The story begins at the end. With brain drain in reverse, or rather, with a spiritual back view mirror A Dream in the Jungle blazes a new opening in the fabric of contemporary African socio-political reality.
After a long period of sojourn on the ‘away’ circuit Domkat is heading home, on a bus with a fellow passenger he nicknames ‘Blackie’, not very far, as nomenclature goes, from the derogatory ‘darkie’ of the colonial regents.
However, this is a story completely void of the misfit of colonial arrogance. As the squalid bus rattles Blackie and Domkat back home from the city Domkat transforms to that total figure of sober reflection that every rational African must become at one point or the other, if they are conscious to the total rot of the governments and political isms running the continent.
It is a dark turbulent transformation, but urgently needed for a society that had drifted off to sleep in resistance, just as Blackie drifted off to indifferent sleep right in the middle of Domkat’s very passionate and animated presentations.
It must be kept in mind, however, that they are moving towards the beginning, and who knows if there is a beginning apart from the beginning. One cannot judge the outcome of this story just from the end. Hope may be lurking somewhere in that dim horizon.
Edet is a Civil Engineer that writes from Lagos, Nigeria.
Amokeye: The Dilemma of a Priest
Review: Amokeye: The Dilemma of a Priest strongly captures the spirit of the kind of raw talent and creative explosion that inspired the AFIRE journey.
In this seminal presentation of stage exuberance Igajah’s characters flow in a steady ebb of crises that is so fundamental to human survival, yet so common in its manifestations of folly in everyone’s personal experience.
Passion and religion: the very bane of modern civilization, is enmeshed and connected, like strands of DNA, in a flux that overwhelms a couple in natural love.
Amokeye gives everything for love, including abortions that eventually destroys her womb, only for her lover to break his vow to her, in fulfillment of an earlier vow to religious faith.
Cutting the bonds of love as easily as he did she pursues him, right to his new sanctuary: the confessional booth.
He is now a priest that must hear the plea for forgiveness for the death of everyone dear to him; from a very, very familiar voice.
As events bounce and ricochet to a bloody climax we see underlying the chaos the true toll of betrayal and revenge – and what happens when forgiveness is dissected from human encounters. Igajah is a graduate of English and Literary Studies from the University of Calabar. He lives and writes in Cross River State, Nigeria.
A Cluster of Petals
Category: Short Story
Review: Forming snapshots that quickly recede to form a looming larger picture the stories of A Cluster of Petals drive motion with the rush of fast flood and creates resonance with an even louder cadence.
There is something somewhere one has seen before, some connection that must occur as necessity in a universe peopled with so many sharing so little a range in both human hope and societal despair.
A Cluster of Petals is a collection of short stories that were written individually over the past fourteen years.
It is an eclectic mix of experience, cut from diverse subjects of various pedigree that have been loosely but organically arranged in the order in which they were written, thus capturing in a novel fashion, the literary growth of the author.
As growth is also the strongest word that should be active on every tongue on the continent it is by no means a coincidence to rise from the drama of a secondary school boarding school in one part to a mental effigy of Nelson Mandela in another part, in response to global concerns of the misbegotten popularity of xenophobic mania.
The cluster is vibrant with throbbing energy permeating issues that hurt for the hurt to stop. Adebola is a medical doctor from Kogi State, Nigeria.
He also has an M.Sc. in Translational Neuropathology from Sheffield Institute of Translational Neuroscience, University of Sheffield.
A Gathering of the Tribes
The Gathering of the Tribes is a riveting metaphorical narrative set in a fictional rural community.
However, on closer examination this community is an inescapable metaphor for a stumbling nation standing, as the adage goes, in midstream with soap in her eyes.
The beautiful flow of tone and imagery underscores the socio-political unrest confronting citizens within any sold and under-developed national reality, especially in Ufelli’s home country, Nigeria.
The characters are drawn into extreme corners of privilege and non-privilege – and the only thing standing in between the two sides is both the key to the unravelling of the conflict engendered by extreme capitalist greed and the catharsis of survival for the community itself.
In this pulsating work of fiction Ufelli, a legal practitioner writing from Nigeria, brings a luminary legal streak to bear on the sharpness of the issues tackled head on by A Gathering of the Tribes.
The organisers disclosed that the winner of the premiere edition of the AFIRE Linda Ikeji Prize for Literature will be announced on December 1 2019.
October 2019 Report
The shortlisted candidates for the 2019 AFIRE Linda Ikeji Prize for Literature have been released by the organisers of the competition, where the winner will go home with a cash prize of N1 million.
Sponsored by the richest blogger in Nigeria, Linda Ikeji, the competition is for upcoming and emerging writers of African descent. The shortlist comprises of 16 writers, carefully selected from over 150 submissions around the world.
The AFIRE Linda Ikeji Prize is open to African writers of any nationality, writing in English from anywhere in the world, whether published or not, an update about the competition on Linda Ikeji’s blog announced on Saturday, October 4, see the list below:
Shortlist of 2019 AFIRE Linda Ikeji Prize for Literature and their writing
- Pat Anetor: A Son For My Son
- Vivian Ofre: These Little Things
- Gideon Uzoma Umezurike: Victims of Duty
- Edidiong Edet: A Dream in the Jungle
- Ayo Collins: Drumbeats of a Nigerian Student
- Ojoi Igajah: Amokeye: The Dilemma of a Priest
- Osarhieme Okungbowa: Angels Do Cry
- Itunu Ajao: Hubris
- Evans Ufelli: A Gathering of the Tribes
- Ayo Oyeku (Ayla Faircountry): Reeds on the Rivers
- Adeola Adejokun: Unborn Children
- Peter O. Ibe: This Is How We Do It
- Obinna Ochem: Living in the Ghetto
- Oluwaseyi Adebola: A Cluster of Petals
- Eleanya Ndukwe Jnr: Afrocentric Cinematic Creations and Analyses
- C. Ukah: Dear Juju Witches
The Editor of African Indie Writers Review, Odega Shawa, in a statement said, “The African Indie Writers Review has come to stay, both as an e-journal of new and emerging writers in Africa and from Africa and as a platform for transformation.
“This is AFIRE’s first offer to emerging writers from the motherland. The message is clear. Keep writing, no matter what.
“The challenges that face new and emerging writers are enormous, especially on the continent. But the fire must never die.
“This is also a special call to new and emerging female writers. Frankly, we did not hear too much from you.
“The editor also thanked the sponsor of the competition, Linda Ikeji for supporting writing, “We hope to hear more from you in the future. We thank our benefactor, blogger and philanthropist, Linda Ikeji, for the support.
“She has promised more to this partnership with AFIRE. We cannot wait. As a writer herself she understands, more than anybody perhaps, what Africa needs for her pen never to go silent. We appreciate her vision to continue giving back, not just to her community, but to the whole continent.”
The Shortlist and Winner of AFIRE Linda Ikeji Prize for Literature
According to the organisers, the shortlist of five books will be announced on the November 10, 2019 while the winner will be announced on December 1, 2019 in Lagos, Nigeria, “There will be a media reception for the Winner Announcement.”