At a World Press Conference today in Lagos, Chika Unigwe, Author of “On Black Sisters’ Street“, was announced the Winner of this year’s edition of Nigeria’s biggest prize for literature, the NLNG Prize for Literature. The prize has a cash value of $100, 000.
Chika Unigwe is a Nigerian-born author and she writes in English and Dutch. She has a Ph.D in Literature from the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. She has published short fiction in several anthologies, journals and magazines including Wasafiri (University of London), Moving Worlds (University of Leeds), Per Contra, Voices of the University of Wisconsin and Okike of the University of Nigeria.
In 2003, she was shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing. In 2004, she won the BBC Short story Competition and a Commonwealth Short Story Competition award. In the same year, her short story made the top 10 of the Million Writers Award for best online fiction.
The Advisory Board of the Prize revealed that 214 entries were received this year – the highest ever in the history of the prize – of which an initial shortlist of 22 was arrived at, which was further reduced to 10, and then the final shortlist of 3 was announced.
The 3 entries were:
Only a Canvas by Olusola Olugbesan.
Onaedo: The Blacksmith’s Daughter by Ngozi Achebe.
On Black Sisters’ Street by Chika Unigwe.
By coincidence, the three novels deal with issues concerning the plight of women in the past and in the present. ‘On Black Sisters’ Street’ is focused specifically on the very precarious situation of women, particularly the issue of sexual slavery. In her depiction of the socio-economic conditions in Nigeria, Unigwe displays grasp of narrative techniques as well as excellent descriptive capabilities.
The Panel of Judges for the Nigeria Prize for Literature, 2012, is happy that the Prize has contributed immensely in lifting the writing skills of Nigerians.
The Nigeria Prize for Literature was instituted in 2004 by the Nigeria LNG Ltd to identify and reward excellence in literature. The overall objective of the Prize is to encourage and stimulate authorship and the development of Nigerian literary culture in terms of creative writing, production and reading, and by so doing guide literary taste.