Written By Izunna Okafor
is no longer a novelty that every calendar year wakes up and sleeps off
with a natural book of many pages. Pages of dreams and visions, pages
of imaginations and realities, pages of successes and failures, pages of
joy and sorrow, pages of progress and regress, pages of victories and
losses, pages of smiles and tears, among many others.
These pages indeed represent what the year holds for men.
Among many others, Nigerian Literary Industry has been a silent
character that has tasted a paragraph in virtually all the pages of the
natural book in the year 2018. That is to say that a lot of pages have
opened and closed to the literary industry as the year 2018 blinks away.
Nigerian Literary industry has been one of the most highly revered
industries in the country, owing to her gargantuan contributions
towards the development of the country, coupled with the venerable
caliber of people therein.
Analytically speaking, the year 2018 was neither all white nor all
black for the industry, as many writers recorded while many others were
recorded in different books in the year.
Nigerian writers, the year 2018 began with good news, following the
long listing of a 30-year old Ayobami Adebayo in the 'Wellcome Book
Prize' on 9th February, for her debut novel “Stay With Me” published in
2017, making her the only African Writer that made it to the list of the
highly competitive annual British Literary Award.
Shortly after this, sad news crawled in, following the shocking
news of Akinwunmi Ishola's demise on Saturday, 17th February, being the
first global sad news to surface from the corner of literary industry
across the world in 2018. Prof. Ishola was a Yoruba literary scholar,
novelist, playwright and culture icon whose works: Oleku, Efunsetan
Aniwura, Koseegbe, Saworoide, Agogo Eewo and Campus Queen were widely
regarded as among the best literary works produced by writers of his
This was followed by the death of Mr. Elizabeth Fagunwa, a
renowned literary promoter and wife of foremost writer and author, late
Chief Daniel O. Fagunwa. Her death was described as a great loss for the
Nigerian literary community, owing to the great roles she played in
advancing, peaking and championing the cause of literary activities in
the country, especially through the Fagunwa Literary Foundation.
these, the most recent and most unsavory of all the ugly news that
elicited tears from the eyes of Nigerian writers in 2018 was the
announcement of Ikeogu Oke's fall on 24th November.
Oke was a great Nigerian bard who, with his classic poem “The
Heresiad", won the Africa’s biggest literary prize, the Nigerian Prize
for Literature 2017, sponsored by the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas
(NLNG) at the tune of $100,000 (N37m).
On the laudatory flank of the journey, Nigerian creative industry
recorded leviathan feats in the year 2018, as many Nigerian writers,
both burgeoning and established, proved their worth in the field of pen
this year both nationally and internationally, thereby emblazing and
embellishing the hope for the advancement of literary arts in Nigeria.
If there is any set of people that have kept Nigeria's image alive
and shinny for decades in the international community, it is Nigerian
Writers. And this year is not an exception.
Several Nigerian writers toed their foot in the literary field this year while many others advanced in their echelons.
In her corner, a leading character in the Nigerian literary
scene, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie indeed recorded some of her greatest
achievements in the literary field this year, following her prodigious
victories in various international and globally acclaimed literary
contests, awards, coupled with other noble honours she received in the
Adichie opened the award year with the 2018 Barnes & Nobel ‘Writers
for Writers’ award which she received in the fall of the quarter of the
year. Shortly after that, the literati has, within couple of months
clasp several other awards and Honorary Degrees among which are: the
'Shorty Award 2018', Pen Pinter Prize 2018; 2018 Action Against Hunger
Humanitarian Award; 2019 Everett M. Rogers Award; Thought Leadership
Award from the Global Hope Coalition (GHC);
Doctor of Literature (DLit) degree, School of Oriental and African
Studies (SOAS); University of London, UK; Honorary Doctor of Humane
Letters Degree, Duke University, North Carolina, USA;
Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree, Amherst College, Massachusetts, USA;
Honorary Doctor of Letters Degree, Bowdoin College, Maine, USA, among others.
Other great and upcoming writers who recorded great feats with
their pen in the year include: Anietie Isong whose debut novel "Radio
Sunrise" won UK’S biggest literary prize, the 2018 McKItterick Prize;
Nigerian-German Efua Traoré who emerged the African regional winner in
the world's most global literary prize, the 2018 Commonwealth Short
Story Prize; Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto who won the New Hampshire Institute of
Art’s 2018 Writing Award, and the Castello di Duino Poesia
International Prize 2018; Abimbola Dare who won the 2018 Bath Novel
International Award among others. The highly coveted 2018 NLNG Prize for
Literature which is the Africa’s biggest Literary Prize (worthing
$100,000) went to Soji Cole for his drama 'Embers’. Be it as it may,
this year's Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature went to an Ugandan writer
Harriet Anena making her the first Ugandan to win the prize, while, with
her 'Fanta Blackcurrant', a Kenyan writer Makena Onjerika won the 2018
Caine Prize, in which three Nigerian writers: Nonyelum Ekwempu, Olufunke
Ogundimu and Wole Talabi were shortlisted out of 147 entrants from 20
It is also worthy to recall that two Nigerian authors: Chimamanda
Adichie and Nnedi Okorafor were this year 2018, nominated for the Nobel
Prize for Literature, for the first time in 36 years, after Wole Soyinka
became the first black person to win the world's most coveted literary
due to some circumstances challenging the public confidence in the
members of the Swedish Academy hosting the award; the winner of prize
was no longer announced this year, but postponed to next year.
Nevertheless, one of the Caribbean most renowned authors, Maryse Conde
was said to have won an alternative prize created to replace this year's
Nobel Literature Prize. Hence, according to the organizers, who were
being torn apart by kerfuffle evolving from certain claims and
accusations, two Nobel Laureates will be announced next year, being for
2018 and 2019 respectively.
Aside awards and recognitions, many Nigerian writers, especially
the young ones published internationally acclaimed books this year.
Nigerian literary industry also welcomed new members this year, among
whom were topnotch politicians who decided to 'test' their 'fortunes' in
creative writing, and hence now wear the badge of 'author'.
The most recent of these politicians turned authors include:
H.E. Sullivan Chime who authored
"An Honour to Serve: Enugu State in the Sullivan Years" and
President Goodluck Jonathan, who authored 'My Transition Hours'.
Professionally as it may have been written, president Jonathan's book
surprisingly made it to the list of 15 best books published in the year
2018. Other newly published books and Nigerian authors who made it to
the prestigious international list include: ‘Devil’s Pawn’ by Kukogho
Iruesiri Samson; 'When Trouble Sleeps' by Leye Adenle; ‘When Day Breaks’
by Adamu Usman Garko (a secondary school student); ‘Children of Blood
and Bone’ by Tomi Adeyemi ‘Embers’ by Soji Cole among others.
Nnedi Okorafor, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Tochi Onyebuchi, Tomi
Adeyemi, Lola Shoneyin, Roye Okupe, and Chika Unigwe had earlier in the
year been listed by Pulse as among the authors currently setting the
pace in the literary field.
However interesting these may be, it is also more interesting to
puff the sore truth that book piracy and plagiarism received great boost
in Nigeria in 2018, as reports reveal several cases of the ugly act
carried out this year. Even President Jonathan's new book was said to
have been pirated by an unknown malignant, in just less than 48 hours
after its launching.
However, a number of individuals, groups and nongovernmental
organizations in the country played great roles in waging war against
this old-centuries global issue which has pauperized many writers across
the world. A most recent of this brawl was the one waged by the
Anti-Piracy Society of Nigeria in her 2018 annual convention in which
the MD/Editor-in-chief of the National Light Newspaper, Sir Chuka
Nnabuife, who is also a renowned author and poet lectured on: "Evolving
is generally believed that piracy and plagiarism trailed in the year
despite the fierce campaigns truculently championed against it.
On the aspect of activities, 2018 recorded the celebration of
numerous literary events and activities by Nigerian writers. The
outstanding among these literary activities and events include: the 37th
Annual National Convention of the Association of Nigerian Authors; 2018
CORA Book Party; NSPP Awards Ceremony hosted by Poets In Nigeria
(PIN); Lagos Book and Art Festival 2018; Return To Idoto 2018 (in honour
of late Poet Christopher Okigbo), hosted by Awka Literary Society; the
2018 Chinua Achebe Literary Festival, hosted by the Society of Young
Nigerian Writers (Anambra Chapter); Northern Nigerian Writers’ Summit
2018; the 2018 Ake Arts and Book Festival; Anambra Book and Creativity
Festival (ANBUKRAFT) 2018; first Poetry Slam in Anambra, hosted by Poets
in Nigeria (PIN), Awka Connect Centre; 2018 Carter Literary Festival,
Enugu; 2018 admission of writers into the Ebedi Writers Residency,
Iseyi, the only writers residency in Nigeria; among other literary
Indeed, 2018 has been a historic year for the Nigeria's literary
industry, given the bizarre feats and achievements recorded by the
members/ Nigerian writers in the year in their quest to advance globally
in the field promote Nigerian Literature and Nigeria's image in the
international community. In fact, the industry is believed to be among
the few sectors that have consistently projected and upheld the image
and dignity of the country till today. Ipso facto, it is optimistically
believe that the sector and the actors will take even more historic
dives and achieve more selcouth feats before the fall of 2019.
About The Author:
Okafor is an award-wining creative Young Nigerian Novelist, Poet,
Essayist, Journalist, Editor, Translator, Publicist , Igbo Language
Activist and an Administrator who hails from Ebenator in Nnewi South
L.G.A of Anambra State Nigeria. He has published seven novels, won over
25 awards, and has over 800 articles published online.
His awards include:
Nigerian Writers Award/Indigenous Writer of The Year 2015/2016
Pita Nwana Prize For Igbo Literature 2015
Society of Young Nigerian Writers Award Nigeria
Heritage Icon Award/Young Writer of the Year Federal Republic of Nigeria 2016;
Merit Award from The Society of Young Nigerian Writers (2016);
Award of Recognition From Students’ Union Government, Unizik (2017)
Nigerian Writers Award/Young Writer of The Year 2015/2016;
N.Y.S.C. Essay Competition 2012;
SLAM Hero Youth International Award/Innovative Youth of the Year 2016;
AEYC/Youth Writer of The Year 2016
Award of Academic Excellence from The National Association of Public Administration Students (2016);
Inspire Award /Outstanding Youth in Academics 2017.
NAPAS Academic Icon of The Year 2017;
Anambra Campus Award 2017/Campus Writer of The Year 2017
Award of Excellence from The Society of Young Nigerian Writers 2016;
Anambra Exclusive Youth Choice Award/Outstanding Youth of the Year 2017;
Youth Writer of The Year 2016 NAPAS Essay Competition 2017;
Starlett Entertainment Award/Creative Writer of the Year 2016;
LitraNation Indigenous Book of The Month (December) 2016
Ambassador TFA in Nigeria
Creative Crew Africa/ Young Talent of The Year 2018, among others;
Campus Best Writer 2018/Campus Journalist of The Year 2018
Best Secretary General of NAPAS (2018).