Soji Cole is Nigeria Prize for Literature 2018 winner for his play Embers. The announcement was made at a ceremony in Lagos, Nigeria on October 19, 2018.
The Nigeria Prize for Literature worth US$100,000 to the winner is the richest prize in African literature. The prize which was founded in 2004 to honour literary erudition by Nigerian authors rotates among four genres of fiction, poetry, drama and children’s literature. The winners over the last few years have been Ikeogu Oke for poetry (2017), Abubakar Adam Ibrahim for prose (2016), Sam Ukala for drama (2014), Tade Ipadeola for poetry (2013), and Chika Unigwe for prose (2012).
This year the prize was for drama and literary criticism and would be judged by a panel of judges chaired by professor of Theatre Arts at the University of Ibadan Matthew Umukoro. Other members of the panel would include Mohammed Inuwa Umar – Buratai a professor of Theatre and Performing Arts and the Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the Ahmadu Bello University, (ABU), Zaria; and Ngozi Udengwu, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Theatre and Film Studies at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
The winner would be announced at a ceremony in a Lagos hotel with Soji Cole taking honours for 2018. Of the winning play Embers by Soji Cole, Prof Ayo Banjo said, it is a good book of dramatic literature which focuses on life in one of the Internally Displaced People’s (IDP) Camps in Northern Nigeria. The characters gave testimonies of their ugly encounters in Sambisa Forest, as well as their painful discovery of life in the IDP Camp.
A member of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Ibadan, Soji Cole teaches undergraduates play writing at the Department of Theatre Arts.