‘Grit’, a thought-provoking play, has earned author Obari Gomba the NLNG’s $100,000 Literature Prize.
Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo, chairperson of the advisory board for the prize, announced the winning work at the award ceremony Friday in Lagos.
Also, at the ceremony themed ‘Redefined’, Mrs Adimora-Ezeigbo announced Eyoh Asuquo Etim’s entry “Herstory versus ‘History’: A motherist re-memory in Akachi Ezeigbo’s The Last of the Strong Ones and Chimamanda Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun” as winner of The Nigeria Prize for Literary Criticism 2023.
The category comes with $10,000 prize money.
Before winning the prize in 2023, Gomba’s works were longlisted four times before making it to the finals.
Announcing the winner, Ms Adimora-Ezeigbo described Grit as a ‘‘dramatic journey into the destructive impact of soul-less politics of power and profit, which brings out the beast in man.’’
She said, ”The play builds the motivations for every character’s actions in a lifelike manner with apt characterisation and purposeful manipulation of plot and conflict. The play is filled with conflicts that create the mood of the inevitability of tragedy, and the language is full of twists that entertain amid pain.”
Gomba, on the other hand, said Grit, his seventh full-length play, speaks to people in a toxic, dysfunctional political environment.
Gomba, who won the ANA Poetry Prize in 2017 and 2018, beat Abideen Abolaji Ojomu’s ‘The Ojuelegba Crossroads’ and Henry Akubuiro’s ‘Yamtarawala – The Warrior King’ to win the prize.
Grit was a strong contender alongside 143 other entries in 2023.
The advisory board applauded Grit as a great play that transcends its covers. They said the pages unfold a captivating narrative that has left an indelible mark, and its production quality is nothing short of excellent.
Gomba, an associate dean of Humanities who teaches Literary and Creative Writing at the University of Port Harcourt, has never published a drama.
Gomba is also an Honorary Fellow in Writing at the University of Iowa (USA).
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