Posted in AWARDS, BOOKS, LITERARY MISSIONARY

ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIAN AUTHORS (ANA) 2017 LITERARY PRIZES WINNERS

The ANA 2017 Literary Prize Winners were announced by one of the judges, Dr. Owojecho Omoha of the University of Abuja at the ANA Convention awards dinner on Saturday 28th October, 2017 held at Royal Choice Inn, Makurdi, Benue State. Only three categories (Drama, Poetry and Prose) were awarded out of the six contestable ANA Literary Prizes. The judges did not find any work worthy enough to merit the ANA/Maria Ajima Prize for Literary Prizes, ANA/Abubakar Gimba Prize for Fiction (Short Stories Collection), and ANA Children’s Literature Prize (for ages 7-13 years). However, an ‘Honourary Mentions’ list (for commendable works not strong enough to merit the award but worth mentioning) were announced alongside the shortlist release in September 2017.

ANA 2017 LITERARY PRIZES WINNERS
ANA Prize for Drama
Winner: Magnetism by R. C. Ofodile
1st Runner Up: The Masked Crown by Tunji Ajibade
2nd Runner Up: General Ologbosere by Dickson Ekhaguere

ANA Prize for Poetry
Winner: For Every Homeland by Obari Gomba
1st Runner Up: Of Waters and the Wild by Ebi Yeibo
2nd Runner Up: A Child of Smell by Seyi Adigun

ANA Prize for Prose Fiction
Joint Winners: Across the Gulf by Dul Johnson
What It Takes by Lola Akande
1st Runner Up: Devil’s Pawn by Kukogho Iruesiri Samson
2nd Runner Up: Goodbye Tomorrow by Ike Utuagha

The Honourary Mentions and their categories as announced in the list released in September are:
ANA /ABUBAKAR GIMBA PRIZE FOR SHORT STORIES
A Tiny Place Called Happiness by Bura-Bari Nwilo
Gates of Dawn by MSC Okolo
Tales From Our Past by Lucky James.

ANA CHILDREN’S LITERATURE PRIZE
The Adventure of Three Wild Boys by Wale Adewale
Sodality: A Tale of Friendship by Chioma A Diru
Dancing Tree by Stanley Okeke Oji

ANA/MARIA AJIMA PRIZE FOR LITERARY CRITICISM
• ‘Radical Theatre and Criticism of anti-People’s Culture: A Study of Esiaba Irobi’s Hangmen also Die’ by Nwagbo Pat -Obi
• ‘Vicarious Idiosyncrasies: The Mother-Daughter Ligament in Ernest Emenyonu’s Listen, My Momma Pays Your Taxes’ by Fynest Elvis

 

ANA 2017 LITERARY PRIZES JUDGES
1. Prof. Nelson Fashina – University of Ibadan
2. Salihu Mohammed Bappa- Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria
3. Dr. Ismaila Bala Garba – Bayero University, Kano
4. Dr Owojecho Omoha- University of Abuja
5. Dame Joan Oji – Educational & Literary Consultant, Abuja

 

For a detailed review of the 2017 Literary Prizes Shortlist, check here.

 

Dul with Su'eddie
Dul Johnson (2017 ANA Prize for Prose winner) with his publisher, Su’eddie Vershima Agema (2014 ANA Prize for Poetry Winner)
Advertisements
Posted in PRESS STATEMENT, PRIZES

ANA LITERARY PRIZES 2017: TITAN GAMES AND A REUNION OF SORTS

The Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) literary prize in any category is a notable prize looked forward to by almost every Nigerian writer. While there have been quarrels over quality, judgments and things of the like – as with other prizes, it has remained one of the most prestigious prizes in the country. The judges of the Association of Nigerian Authors just released the shortlist for the 2017 ANA Prizes. It is an interesting list featuring past winners, shortlisters and some literary heavy weights for the award. It seems a reunion of sorts and a fight, particularly in the three broad genres of literature: poetry, prose and drama.

In the poetry category are Obari Gomba, Ebi Yeibo, Seyi Adigun and Patrick Oguejiofor. Obari Gomba and Ebi Yeibo, both academics, are previous winners. Gomba who was shortlisted for his For Every Homeland won the coveted award last year while Ebi Yeibo, shortlisted for Of Waters and the Wild shared the joint prize for the ANA Poetry award in 2014 with Su’eddie Vershima Agema (me). Gomba and Yeibo were also nominated for the NLNG Longlist earlier this year. Seyi Adigun, a medical doctor, is a past Chairman of the Abuja chapter of ANA. He was shortlisted for his A Child of Smell. Patrick Oguejiofor is a notable community champion whose voice has been heard on several topical developmental, political and economic issues. This time, he throws his might in the poetry ring daring the other ANA heavyweights with his new collection themed on the Maiduguri madness through Maiduguri Requiems.

The prose section has some notable names, Dul Johnson, Kukogho Iruesiri and Lola Akande. Dul is professor of Literature at Bingham University whose shortlisted work, Across the Gulf was published by SEVHAGE earlier in the year. His novel is a bridge between thriller and literary fiction. It dwells on some aspects of the Biafran war and its aftermaths, with a view of how it affected the destinies of some families. It is a fine story packaged to fine quality with a memorable cover.  Professor Dul was shortlisted for the ANA Drama Prize in 2014 with his play, Melancholia – also published by SEVHAGE. Kukogho Iruesiri, who is a literary promoter of note is founder and publisher at Words Rhythm and Rhymes (WRR). He has earned some credits as a poet. Kukogho, more known as Kukogho Iruesiri Samson (KIS) entered his engaging unpublished manuscript, The Devil’s Pawn which is made up of about 50 episodes of thriller material he had previously blogged. Lola Akande, shortlisted for What it Takes, is a lecturer at the University of Lagos, who started writing seriously in 2009 after defending her PhD thesis. The fourth prose award nominee, the relatively unknown Ike Utuagha, made the shortlist with his book, Goodbye Tomorrow.

The drama category has Tunji Ajibade, shortlisted for his The Masked Crown, who won the prize in 2014. He narrowly missed the award in 2015 when he was shortlisted and came first runner up like RC Ofodile shortlisted in 2016. Notably, Ofodile won the ANA/Abubakar Gimba Prize for Short Stories in 2016. Ajibade’s plays largely explore history with a twist. He is known to employ narrative licenses to bend events of reality to conform with the ideas of his mind to get expected results. The two other shortlisted writers for the drama prize, which is usually not so hotly contested with limited entries are Solomon Iguanre with Oh Obedeki, Dickson Ekhaguere with General Ologbosere and Jerry Alagbaoso with his Tony wants to marry.

The ANA/Abubakar Gimba Prize will not be awarded this year as the judges found the entries only worthy enough to be honourable mentions. Bura-Bari Nwilo, whose Tiny Place Called Happiness, has made the rounds was a name some people might have expected to clinch the prize…

Like in previous years, the ANA/Maria Ajima Prize for Literary Criticism is also not going to be awarded as the entries seem not to have been impressive enough for the judges – or maybe, not enough entries were received. Nwagbo Pat-Obi who was honourably mentioned last year is honourably mentioned this year again alongside Fynest Elvis. In the end, one has to wonder at the level of scholarship and criticism in the country if year in, year out, no award can be given for literary criticism. Could it be because the needed was not available or that the available was not what was needed?

The final category, the ANA Children’s Literature Prize is also not for grabs this year as there are only honourable mentions for this category too. Thus, Wale Adewale, Chioma A. Diru and Stanley Okeke Oji will have to hope that there will be an honourable certificate for the effort. Yes, maybe honourable pictures too, as one of the three whispered to me.

(The full announcement for the list can be found here…)

So, who wins the coveted 2017 ANA Prize for the Prose, Poetry and Drama? Will the honourably mentioned have a certificate or at least, a handshake? We will all have to wait for the awards dinner of the 36th International Annual Convention of ANA coming up on Saturday 28th October, 2017 in Makurdi, Benue State.

 

 

Su’eddie Vershima Agema, editor and development worker, won the 2014 ANA Prize for Poetry in addition to being shortlisted and longlisted on different occasions in other categories of the competition. He can be reached at eddieagema@yahoo.com, @sueddieagema on Twitter and Instagram.

Posted in EVENTS, FICTION, THRILLER

ABUJA WRITERS’ FORUM HOSTS SEVHAGE AUTHOR, DUL JOHNSON; JIDE BADMUS AND AUSTINE OROKO ON 29TH APRIL 2017

The Abuja Writers’ Forum, one of Nigeria’s premier literary organisation is set to host Dul Johnson, incredible writer, scholar and film maker alongside poet Jide Badmus and the sensational musician, Austine Oroko.

If you are in Abuja, do make out time to go to Nanet Suites (beside Bayelsa House, down the road from Federal Secretariat) by 4:00pm for an offering of this great event. SEVHAGE Author, Dul Johnson will be reading from his latest novel, ACROSS THE GULF, a book on the civil war written from a new angle as would leave readers intrigued. This is the third book of Dul’s we have worked on and one of his finest. We had an argument on it – considering he prefers DEEPER INTO THE NIGHT, which is more literary. In his office a month or so ago, I told him that ACROSS THE GULF was a finer read considering it is more entertaining, thrilling and grasping. Being the fine scholar he is, he prefers the one with more lessons.
‘Well, it isn’t as if THE GULF doesn’t have a lot of lessons. But can you imagine that I edited the book and kept smiling all through!’
It is like a continuation of part of the stories in SHADOWS AND ASHES. I am always glad when I come across new narratives, especially when they are engaging. Across the Gulf is a book like that and I think we set the bar with the production of that book’s cover. I will be uploading it soon. But let me not talk too much.
Dr. Emman Shehu​ has done a good job of consistently hosting writers and artistes every month to a thrilling reading where the public can interact, have fun and get a feel of good literature. I have been a beneficiary of the event – as an invited artiste and as a member of the audience. I think – I don’t think, I know – that it is a place worth going to. IF you can make out time to be there, it would sure be worth the hours.
Did I mention that there is usually great music, a conducive cool (AC chilled) environment, great gifts from raffle draws, amongst other amazing things? Don’t say I didn’t tell you…

For a limited time, Dul Johnson’s book will be selling for a thousand naira at the event. Don’t forget,
Saturday 29th April, 2017; 4:00pm; Nanet Suites. Be there or be square – or whatever they say.

In conclusion, here is the writeup for the event by Ibrahim Ramalan, for Blue Print newspaper… Do share:

The Abuja Writers Forum (AWF) will on Saturday host Jide Badmus, Dul Johnson and Austin (Aush) Oroko for the April 29th edition of its Guest Writer Session which holds at the Aso Hall, Nanet Suites, Central Business District, Abuja by 4pm.
According to a statement signed by the Forum’s scribe, Edith Yassin, in Abuja, one of the guests, Jide Badmus was born and bred in Ilorin, and hails from Omido in Irepodun LGA, Kwara State. The first of four children, he studied Electrical Engineering at the University of Ilorin and bagged a Master’s degree in Information Technology Management at Binary University, Malaysia. He is a practicing Electrical Engineer in building services.

Badmus has had a flair for creative writing as a child and started writing poetry in 2002. He has a wide range of collections on various themes and shares his short stories, critical opinions and poetry on his blog http://www.inkspiredng.com. Some of his works have been published in national dailies and online platforms.

His debut book collection,There Is A Storm In My Head, appeared this year on the imprint of  Words Rhymes and Rhythm Ltd (WRR). The poems depict a storm of emotions as a result of life’s uncertainty, disparity between dreams and reality, and the thin line between love and lust. The author’s writing style is defined as simple and deep; his poems are usually brief and fast-paced, the readers are left out of breath and asking for more. He is inspired by nature and beauty.
Jide is married to a beautiful wife, Linda and has an adorable daughter, Nora. He is a Christian and a soccer lover; he is a Manchester United fan. Watching soccer, reading, writing and watching movies are his hobbies. He lives and writes from Lagos.

Dul Johnson is a filmmaker and author from Plateau State and currently lectures, as a Professor of Literature, at Bingham University, Karu. He began his career as a drama director with the Nigerian Television Authority, Jos, and worked for many years before retiring into Independent Filmmaking and teaching. He has won national and international awards with his films and dramas, including There is Nothing Wrong with my Uncle (a cultural documentary), The Widow’s Might (a feature film), Against the Grain, Wasting for the West, Basket of Water, and many others.
Johnson began writing in his undergraduate days, trying his hand at drama, poetry, journalistic writing and short stories. From the mid- to late 1970s he wrote plays for radio (Rima Radio, Sokoto) and for the stage – some of which were produced in his undergraduate days.

Johnson has published five major works: Shadows and Ashes, Why Women Won’t make it to Heaven (short story collections), Ugba Uye: The Living Legend (a biography), Deeper into the Night (a novel) and Melancholia (a play). The last two were presented to the public on 28 October 2014.
His latest publication, Across The Gulf, is a novel that explores  loyalty,resilence, nationhood, love and tradition bridging two generations and an entire nation.
Austin Oroko hails from Utonkon, Benue State and is a graduate of the department of languages and Linguistics Nassararwa State University, Keffi. He speaks French and Italian as well as a little German.

Born in Lagos, he likes to describe himself as growing up all over the world with his six siblings as they accompanied their father, a former diplomat, on his official postings.
At the age of fifteen he started writing and singing his own songs with a dream to become a star that will influence the world through his music. Although he owned a keyboard when he was younger, it was his love for the guitar that caught his fancy and has become his mainstay as a performer.

Oroko has been on several notable platforms including AM Express, AIT,NTA Entertainment among others. He spent a lot of time listening and studying classical musicians and the likes of Tracy Chapman and Stevie Wonder who have had a deep influence on him.
His music can be classified as Indie rock with a touch of soul and has recently released a single, Oxygen,
The Guest Writer Session which also features a raffle-draw for books, runs from 4-7pm and is open to the public.

 

 

SHARING IS CARING! CHEERS!

Posted in EVENTS, MEET THE POETS

THE SPIRITS OF THE EBEDI INTERNATIONAL RESIDENCY FALL UPON POETS SERVIO GBADAMOSI, EHIZOGIE IYEOMOAN, AND IKECHUKWU NWAOGU

Yes, you have heard of the Ebedi International Residency… and there are spirits there. These spirits are rare in Nigeria – imagine it, electric power supply, water, peace, quiet! Shoot someone already! Yes, let me school you only a bit.

The Ebedi International Residency in Iseyin, Oyo state is one of the few residencies in Nigeria that hosts writers (three at a time) for a period of six weeks giving them time to work on any creative piece of their choice. Now, they also get a small stipend (about thirty thousand naira or so) in the period and are isolated from distractions.

The three writers featuring in the September/October 2016 edition are my people, Ehi’zogie Iyeomoan, Ikechukwu Nwaogu and the cool Servio Gbadamosi.

Ehi’zogie is from Edo state and has an enviable list of awards in poetry which I wouldn’t want to waste your time mentioning. Just know, the guy can write and he has written. Last year, in Jos, we were in a hotel together with Saddiq Dzukogi, Romeo Oriogun (there was a fourth person… Eh, okay, I was the fourth person) and reading through our collective verse, I couldn’t help but note, ah, this really is a poet to watch out for any time. We were at other events last year too but again, I wouldn’t bore you much. He has a published collection of poetry, Flames of Forest, which was written to some acclaim. He also has a considerable number of poems published online. The thing with Ehi’zogie is he gets better with every new verse… So, he is working on a new collection there at Ebedi titled A Spring of Endless Songs. I have seen some of the poems, and I liked most of them but wrinkled my nose at a few others 🙂 He is working on refining and redefining that collection. We wish him luck!

20160917_150632
Ehi’zogie Iyeomoan, Ikechukwu Nwaogu, Servio Gbadamosi – The picture was taken after a long journey, so no vex. the guys are actually finer and more youthful looking 😉 

Ikechukwu Nwaogu… is a fiction writer and playwright. His work has appeared on different sites including www.naijastories.com (he is my brother for being here, I belong to the first generation of the Naija Stories family), http://www.mainlandbookcafe.com, http://www.shughar.com, http://www.elsieisy.com, and on http://www.facebook.com (well, almost everyone’s writings has appeared there, no? 🙂 ). Equally, his nonfiction pieces have appeared on http://www.mainlandbookcafe.com, and his personal blog,  www.inkspilla.wordpress.com. While at Ebedi, Ikechukwu will be working on a collection of short stories and if God agrees, a novel. We can only pray for that. And him too, of course.

The third writer and certainly the baddest of them all, Servio Gbadamosi! (Blow the trumpet!) I handed over the ANA Poetry Award to this young man in 2015, after getting tired of being the ANA Award holder for 2014 🙂 … He won the award with his poetry collection, A Tributary in Servitude which I begged him to publish. Note that he didn’t give me a kobo when he won the award! Any way, we have enjoyed many drinks and meals since then so I think that is compensation. But who is Servio? Ah! He is a poet, and Ibadan based culture and development practitioner. He is the brain behind Winepress Publisher and one of the founding partners of the famous WriteHouse Collective. Servio is one of Nigeria’s leading publishing consultants and a book dealer of great note. He has been published in several journals and anthologies like Crossroads: Anthology of Poems in Honour of Christopher Okigbo, Fela’s Re-arrangement: A Collage of the Poetic Biography of Nigeria’s Folkhero of Afrobeat Music and The Sky is Our Earth: Anthology of Fifty Young Nigerian Poets.

Servio hopes to use the opportunity of his residency ‘to research, reflect and continue work on a new collection of poems titled, From Northwind

All the three writers will also take part in the mentorship of secondary school students in Iseyin and environs in the area of creative writing, drama and public speaking.

Now in its sixth year of operation, the Ebedi Residency is a private initiative for writers to complete their creative works in an enabling environment at no cost. The Residency which has hosted about 75 writers from countries such as Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, South Africa, Cameroun, Ghana and Ivory Coast since its inception has also produced several award winning writers. The writers have included our SEVHAGE author, Professor Dul Johnson, my good friend Professor Musa Idris Okpanachi and the satire King, Elnathan John whose book, BORN ON A TUESDAY shortlisted for the 2016 NLNG Prize was completed at the Ebedi Residency.

Wait, why did Ebedi carry my friends and leave me? Hmmm, okay, maybe because I didn’t apply. But you can apply and should apply. To apply, visit http://ebedihills.com/how-to-apply (the link was down a while back but keep trying and go see what you can do). Best of luck to the residents at the moment and to all of you who would apply. For us all others, let’s keep writing, reading and being our very best. Cheerio!

Posted in ESSAYS AND LITERARY JOURNEYS, FICTION, FLASH FICTION, INTERVIEWS, LIFE, LITERARY MISSIONARY

DUL JOHNSON: PERSONAL NOTES, SHARED MEMORIES AND A SUBTLE INTRODUCTION

As with most of my friends especially writers with whom I have grown a deep bond, I cannot exactly say the first time I met Dul Johnson… There’s been this contact for some time. One of my first memories with him was when he had a reading with the Abuja Writers’ Forum; he was to be a facilitator at their workshop and also a guest writer. I told my father where I was going and he smiled. He said he had worked with Dr. Johnson in NTA and that the man was a rascal. I smiled… I passed the greetings of my father to Dul and he took it with good humour and yabbed my father back. Since then, there were different meetings including a memorable talk at the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) convention in Minna in 2009. Other areas and yup, I attended his reading at the Abuja ANA where he read from Why Women Wouldn’t Make it  to Heaven alongside 2013 Caine prize shortlister, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim. IT was a fun read and the joyful noise in the air was testimony…

I remember when he became my client…The link was another good associate of mine, Salamatu Sule. She gave a referral and voila, I was in Dr. Dul’s office trying my best to sell our work. He had a work that had

Dul Johnsonbeen done, Deeper into the Night, which needed some rework. Well, long story short, SEVHAGE published the novel (Deeper into the Night) and a play of his, Melancholia (which was shortlisted for the Association of Nigerian Authors’ 2014 prize for Drama).

Dul Johnson is a man easily spotted with his huge beards, which sadly have been trimmed. With a rich voice and a joyful personality, he is almost always noticeable in any crowd. Did I mention his glasses? He has written much across the genres but there’s some history to him…

He started early life as a farmer, then apprentice blacksmith, something he carried to his school where he succeeded in at metal works. He was meant to go to a polytechnic but providence played its hand differently… Well, he ended up in the Abdullahi Bayero College, the Kano campus of the Ahmadu Bello University (which is now the Bayero University, Kano). Now, by 1976, Dul had started writing plays, with radio plays for a radio station in Sokoto called Rima Radio. It would take two years before his first play was performed on stage. In 1978, as an undergraduate, his first play was performed in the Abdullahi Bayero college. [I tried getting the title of the play from him many times but the man’s memory decided to play a game that didn’t produce it… So, we can be resigned to the fact that it is a title lost in the archives of forgotten memory] He wrote and produced many television plays for NTA Jos in the 80s and 90s before turning his attention to film.

The last time we had a major event together was the twin launch of Deeper into the Night and Melancholia. Professor Hyginus Ekwuazi — a mutual friend of ours who is a great poet, academic and film person – was meant to present the review for Deeper into the Night. For a million reasons, Prof Ekwuazi couldn’t make it and asked that I help him. So, I wore two caps; as reviewer and publisher. I presented the piece while tweaking some parts. I got positive reviews for the presentation and I was all smiles. I can’t remember now, but perhaps I thanked the heavens that Professor Ekwuazi couldn’t make it J

The launch was not as well attended as I would have thought – which is not to say people didn’t come, we had over a hundred people… But it was a great event. There were more than enough chops. People got free copies of the book in the benevolence of the Dul, and *coughs* his publisher. After the whole event, we had time to chat on a whole lot of things… I also got the chance to meet the Dul family; Chalya, the guy Duls and Mrs. Ruth Dul Johnson.

Dul Johnson
Dul Johnson

We laughed as I left that day, but I couldn’t forget the warmth that I felt in the office with Dr. Dul and his family.

But this isn’t about us or mushy stuff… Oh! I didn’t mention part of his creative writing publishing history:

Dul has published to his credit, two collections of short stories, Shadows and Ashes and Why Women won’t make it to heaven; a novel Deeper into the Night (SEVHAGE, 2014) and a play, Melancholia. Dul Johnson is also a seasoned scholar and academic who has taught at the University of Jos; the National Film Institute, Jos; the Television College, Jos and Bingham University, Karu.

I did an interview with Dr. Dul Johnson last year shortly after the shortlist for Melancholia. The deep man had much to say… His interview marks the first of our now to be regular SEVHAGE Reviews Interview that can be found at http://sevhage.wordpress.com…Specifically, find the interview by clicking HERE.

Enjoy him and please drop a comment… Many thanks and cheers!