The NLNG Prize for Literature; history and winners


The NLNG Prize for Literature is sponsored by Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited. The prize is aimed at showcasing Nigerian authors and celebrating excellence in literary accomplishments in the nation. With the NLNG Prize for Literature, it is expected that the quest for a prestigious prize will help standardize the quality of writing, editing, proof-reading and publishing in the country with far-reaching positive effect on print and broadcast journalism.




The NLNG Prize for Literature was established in 2004. At that time, the monetary reward was $20,000. It was increased in 2006 to $30,000. In 2008, it was again raised to $50,000. In 2011, a significant change in the administration led to its increment to $100,000 and remained so since then. The Nigeria Prize for Literature has since grown to be Africa’s most prestigious reward for literary achievement. It is ranked among the world’s top 100 in prize money. The prize was administered on behalf of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited by the Advisory Board for Literature made up of members of Nigerian Academy of Letters (NAL) and Association of Nigerian Authors. Winners are announced in the month of October, commemorating the first export of LNG cargo by NLNG on October 9, 1999.


In 2004

At the inception in 2004, no winner emerged for the literature prize ( Prose fiction). However, three authors; Bina Nengi-ilagha, Omo Uwaifo and Prof. Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo, received commendations for their efforts.

In 2005

Joint winners emerged for the literature prize which focused on poetry. Ezenwa Ohaeto and Gabriel Okara  got rewarded for their books “Chants of a Minstrel” and “The Dreamer: His Vision” respectively.

In 2006

Dr Ahmed Yerima claimed the NLNG Prize for Literature (drama) for his book “Hard Ground”

In 2007

Just like in 2004, joint winners emerged for the NLNG prize for the children’s literature. Professor Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo and Mabel Segun emerged joint winners with their books; “My Cousin Sammy” and “Readers’ Theatre: Twelve Plays for Young People” respectively.

In 2008

The literature prize returned to prose fiction with Kaine Agary winning with her first book “Yellow Yellow”

In 2009

No winner emerged  for the NLNG Prize for Literature in 2009. This incident attracted reactions from the Nigerian literary community worldwide. Consequently, the prize which was hitherto restricted became open to Nigerians everywhere in the world and the names of the judges were made public.

In 2010

The NLNG Prize for Literature got its first post-humous winner, Dr Esiaba Irobi who won the prize with his play “Cemetery Road”. He died after submitting his work for the competition.

In 2011

Adeleke Adeyemi emerged winner for the NLNG Prize for Literature with his book “ The Missing Clock” in the children’s literature category. He wrote under pen name, Mai Nasara.

In 2012

Chika Unigwe beat 213 authors to the prize with her book “ On Black Sisters’ Street” She became the second foreign based author to win the prize.

In 2013

The NLNG prize focused on poetry. From a total of 201 submissions, Tade Ipadeola’s “ The Sahara Testaments” emerged the winning entry.

In 2014

“Iredi War” by Sam Ukala won the year’s edition of the prize. “Iredi War” emerged from a list of 124 entries.

In 2015

Another year for the children literature, the judges ruled that none of the entries was worthy of the prize. The prize money was thus utilized to fund a workshop for children’s literature, later that year.

In 2016

“Seasons of Crimsons Blossoms” by Abubakar Adam Ibrahim won  the 2016 edition of the NLNG Prize.

In 2017

After an intensive process of adjudication, “The Heresiad” by Ikeogu Oke was announced winner of the 2017 edition of the prize.I

In 2018

Soji Cole, a lecturer at the university of Ibadan, beat two others on the shortlist of three to pick up the $100,000 cheque accompanying the NLNG Prize for Literature.




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