Nigerian professor, Ugandan win Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature

Harriet Anena (L) with renowned African author, Wole Soyinka (C) after winning the prize in Nigeria Credit-softpowernews
Harriet Anena (L) with renowned African author, Wole Soyinka (C) after winning the prize in Nigeria Credit-softpowernews

Nigeria’s Tanure Ojaide and Uganda’s Harriet Arena have been announced as the joint winners of 2018 Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature.

Servio Gbadamosi, a doctoral candidate in the cultural and media studies program at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan, was the runner-up.

He was shortlisted for his ‘A Tributary in Servitude’.

Mr. Ojaide, 70, a professor of Africana Studies at The University of North Carolina, was shortlisted for his poetry collection, ‘Songs of Myself’.

Mr Ojaide has published 20 poetry collections as well as scholarly and fictional works

Ms Anena was the first Ugandan to have won the biennial award meant for writers.

The winners were announced at a ceremony held at the Muson Center, Onikan, Lagos, on Sunday.

The only other time the prize has been shared was in 2010, when South Africa’s Kopano Matlwa (Coconut) and Nigeria’s Wale Okediran (Tenants of The House) emerged joint winners.

This edition of the rotating Pan-African prize is for poetry and had 110 submissions from 11 countries on the continent, including Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria and Rwanda.

After being announced joint-winner of the 2018 Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa on Sunday, Ms Anena was delighted at her achievement and later tweeted saying she was “super happy”.

For his extensive work in the world of literature, the Lumina Foundation established the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa in honour of the revered Nigerian writer.

Every two years, the prize, worth $10,000 is awarded to the best literary work produced by an African.ne

Previous winners of the prize have included novelists Sefi Atta for ‘Everything Will Come,’ and the South African Sifiso Mzobe for ‘Young Blood’. The latter won over another South African short-listed book the same year, ‘The Unseen Leopard’ by Bridget Pitt.

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