Dr Obari Gomba’s play Grit was declared the winner of the NLNG Nigeria Prize for Literature 2023 in Lagos on Friday, October 13, 2023. Dr Eyoh Etim also won the Nigeria Prize for Literary Criticism.
The Nigeria Prize for Literature, sponsored annually by oil firm NLNG, was started to honour Nigerian authors in the four genres of fiction, poetry, drama and children’s literature in 2004. The prize worth US$100,000 makes it the richest in African letters today. In recent times, winners have been Romeo Oriogun, Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia, Jude Idada, Soji Cole, Ikeogu Oke, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, Sam Ukala, Tade Ipadeola, and Chika Unigwe.
For 2023, the focus for the prize was drama and 143 plays were submitted to the jury comprising Prof Ameh Dennis Akoh alongside Prof Osita Catherine Ezenwanebe and Dr Rasheedah Liman. The longlist was announced on Thursday, July 20 before the shortlist was made public on Tuesday, August 29. The winner was announced at a colourful ceremony in Lagos on Friday evening with Obari Gomba’s play Grit going home with top honours.
Commenting on the win Gomba said, “I am humbled by the outpouring of goodwill since Friday, 13th October, 2023 when GRIT won the Nigeria Prize for Literature. Thank you for your support and kind words. More thanks to the amazing writers / playwrights who have made Nigerian literature eventful this year. Henry Akubuiro, Abideen Ojomu, Olubunmi Familoni, Christopher Anyokwu, Cheta Igbokwe, Abuchi Modilim, Ade Adeniji, Bode Sowande, Victor Dugga, Olatunbosun Taofeek, and all others who competed this year have brought new momentum to our drama. I am proud to be one of them. God bless the Nigeria LNG Ltd for investing in the Nigeria Prize for Literature. The party is not over. God bless you all.”
Dr Eyoh Etim on the win said, “I have just been awarded the 2023 Nigeria Prize for Literary Criticism by the NLNG. To God be the glory.”
Watch the ceremony in its entirety on YouTube below;