On Sunday, 9 December, 2018, ACME’s online content producer, Ms Harriet Anena, was announced a joint winner of the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature 2018.
Anena won the award for her social conscience poetry collection, A Nation in Labour. In joint first-place was Nigerian poet and writer Tanure Ojaide for his 2015 poetry collection, Songs of Myself: Quartet. The winners were announced at ceremony held in Lagos, Nigeria.
The Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa is a pan-African award established by The Lumina Foundation in 13 years ago to “celebrate excellence in all its cerebral grace, its liberating qualities, and the honour and recognition it brings to a myriad of people”. It was conceived in honour of Mr Soyinka, Africa’s first Nobel Laureate in literature.
In her acceptance speech Anena said: “I’m grateful for this recognition, which will always remind me that opposing voices may never recede, that writing will never be easy; but listening to conviction and positivity is a step towards inscribing literary footprints that won’t get easily erased.”
Anena said winning the prize is life-changing for her and a new start in her journey. She told ACME it means “more hard work, but also using the voice I have to reach more writers who are trying to get a footing.”
“This is a wonderful turn in my journey. I will be sure to continue learning and improving,” she added.
Writing about the 2018 prize, James Murua, a noted literary blogger and podcaster said this year’s edition attracted 110 submissions from 11 countries in Africa. The competition was judged by a jury chaired by Ghanaian-born writer, Ms Margaret Busby, supported by University of Texas’ Professor Toyin Falola, author of A Month Sweeter than Salt, and the Lagos-based international literary scholar, Olu Obafemi.