Obari Gomba wins 2023 Nigeria Prize for Literature, carts home $100,000

Obari Gomba

Obari Gomba: Wins 2022 PAWA Poetry Prize

By Nehru Odeh

Dr. Obari Gomba, poet, writer and academic, has won the 2023 Nigeria Prize for Literature for his play, “Grit”. The prize is worth $100,000.

Obari, who beat two other shortlisted writers to win the prestigious award, was announced as the winner at the Grand Award Night which held at Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos on Friday 13 October 2023.

The other shortlisted writers were: Henry Akubuiro (Yamtarawala – The Warrior King) and Abideen Abolaji Ojomu {The Ojuelegba Crossroads).

Professor Akachi Adimora Ezeigbo described Obari’s Grit as “a dramatic tour de force.” The judges had earlier applauded it as a great play that transcends its covers. Its pages unfold a captivating narrative that has clearly left an indelible mark and its production quality is nothing short of excellent.

Obari Gomba teaches Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Port Harcourt. He has published the play Guerilla Post, the poetry collections For Every Homeland, Thunder Protocol, Length of Eyes, and Pearls of the Mangrove.

He was the Honorary Fellow in Writing at the University of Iowa, and previously won the ANA Drama Prize in 2018 and the ANA Poetry Prize in 2017. He was also shortlisted for the Nigeria Prize for Literature in 2017 and 2013.

This year’s judges included the chair, Professor Ameh Dennis Akoh as well as Professor Osita Catherine Ezenwanebe and Dr Rasheedah Liman.

The Nigeria Prize for Literature is sponsored by Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG) and carries a cash award of $100,000. A total of 143 plays were entered for the competition, which focuses on drama.

Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo, a professor of English, is the chairperson of the Advisory Board. This year’s judges include the chair Professor Ameh Dennis Akoh as well as Professor Osita Catherine Ezenwanebe and Dr Rasheedah Liman.

Victor K. Yankah, a professor of Theatre and Film Studies at the University of Cape Coast, Ghana, served as the International Consultant for this year’s edition of the Prize.