Two days ago, the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited, sponsors of Nigeria Prize for Literature, announced the postponement of the 2020 cycle of the Nigeria Prize for Science, The Nigeria Prize for Literature and The Nigeria Prize for Literary Criticism to 2021.
The competition this year was open only to published works by Nigerian writers irrespective of place of residence and it carried a reward of $100,000.
The prize rotates among four literary genres — prose fiction, poetry, drama and children’s literature. This year, the competition was for Prose Fiction.
According to Mrs Eyono Fatayi-Williams, General Manager, External Relations and Sustainable Development, NLNG, “the decision to postpone the three Prizes this year was reached after assessing the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) on the Prizes’ cycles.”
“We had a lot of consultations with the advisory boards and struggled with the decision but the overriding focus of the award was safety.”
She concluded, “the competition, alongside entries submitted for all the prizes this year, will now be carried over to 2021. The Calls for Entries for the three prizes were published in February 2020 with prior deadlines set for March 31, 2020, and April 30, 2020, for the literature and literary criticism prizes, and the science prize respectively.”
Many Nigerian writers that submitted their works were ‘salivating’ with great expectations like this one of the most respected and sought after Art Prizes on the continent. Many writers are yet to overcome the shock of this cancellation.
In its 16 years existence, the ward has produced 15 Millionaires with over $980,000, given out each time as prizes which in today’s Naira market (1 USD = N380), is about N370,927,942 million.