Saturday, December 24, 2005

1st olaudah equiano prize - chielozona eze wins

Chielozona Eze has won the 1st Olaudah Equiano Prize for Fiction. Eze, an assistant professor of postcolonial and Anglophone African Literature at North-Eastern Illinois Universisty, Chicago, won the $1000 prize for his short story, Lessons in German.

The judges describe Lessons in German, as "a swan song to, and of, all that was, and is, beautiful and enduring but utterly corrupted by humanity. It is an awakening of consciousness to the binding contract of sublimation, the pristine glory of nature that is bound for decay, an ennobling song in our hearts that is the beginning of manic depression."

Chairman of the judges, Obiwu, called the winning story "a narration about music and language, sex and sexuality, love and hate, art and artifice, knowledge and ignorance, light and darkness, genocide and communality, affirmation and denegation. Eze pours his body and soul, not unlike the enmeshed wine and flesh of his interracial protagonists, into a narrative that is one of the most consuming commentaries on contemporary dialectics of migration, globalization, and the return of beauty."

- 2nd prize goes to Anietie Isong who wins $300 for the story, How Great Thou Art.

- Chika Unigwe wins 3rd prize and $100 for her story, Confetti, Glitter, and Ash.

The prizewinners are from an original shortlist of 5 including Chibo Onyeji for The Professor, and Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu for her short story, How Inyang Got Her Wings.

* All stories submitted for this year's competition will be considered for publication in an anthology of short fiction devoted to new voices of Africans abroad. The judges were Okey Ndibe, Wale Adebanwi, and Obiwu. The prize was initiated by writer/essayist Rudolf Okonkwo of CEO of Iroko Productions. Entries for next year's competition will open on July 1, 2006

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