The head of Hausa Service of the BBC, Jimeh Saleh, has lauded the achievements of Hausa language female writers in Nigeria.
Mr. Saleh gave the commendation on Friday at an event to honour winners of the BBC Hausa short story writing contest for women at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Abuja.
Mr. Saleh said the BBC announced the competition, titled “ Hikayata” last year on the strength of a long feminist literary tradition in the Hausa speaking world; a tradition, he said, still flourishes.
He also said “women are still far ahead of their male counterparts when it comes to Hausa fiction.”
He said the Hausa service of the BBC introduced the competition as a way of encouraging the culture of writing among women.
“We wanted them to tell and share their stories which are real and profound.
“This comes through very clearly in the daily news stories we cover,” he said.
Mr. Saleh said over two hundred entries were received last year most of which were strong and engaging.
He said the judges selected Aisha Sabitu’s Sansanin ‘Yan Gudun Hijira or Refugee Camp as the winning entry.
“This year, we had over four hundred entries from different parts of the Hausa speaking world.
“The interest in the contest has been remarkable,” he said.
He also said about half of the entries were from new writers, adding that “almost all the stories were potential winning entries, making the selection process a difficult task indeed.”
He thanked the judges: Balaraba Yakubu, Rahma Abdulmajid and Ibrahim Malumfashi for a “fantastic job”.
“I know it was not an easy task selecting a winner –but they eventually got one in Maimuna Sani Beli from Kano state”.
The winning story ‘Bai Kai Zuci ba’ or ‘Not from the Heart’, is about a woman who is obsessed with her children and constantly dreams of what might befall them if she dies.
She even tells her husband to marry her best friend who loves children if she suddenly dies so she can help take care of the children. She always dreams of dying and coming back from the dead to visit her children.
“The judges were impressed by Maimuna’s bold writing style as, with ease and creativity, she takes the reader from the land of the living to the spirit world,” he said.
Mr. Saleh quoted the lead judge, Mr. Malumfashi, a professor, as saying “not every writer is confident enough to take on subjects like life after death.”
“But Maimuna is a courageous writer indeed –she is unafraid to tackle any topic and she is uninhibited by any style”.
The second place winner was Balkisu Sani Makaranta, while, Habiba Abubakar and Hindatu Samai’ila Nabame were joint third place winners.
Other prominent guests at the event were the APC Women Leader, Ramatu Tijani; House of Representatives spokesperson, Abdulrazak Namdas; Director-General of Radio Nigeria, Mansur Liman; and Deputy British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Harriet Thomson, among others.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been edited to reflect the actual comments of the BBC Hausa chief.