The panel of judges for the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature is set to release the names of the top three contenders for the fifth edition of the award taking place next month in Lagos. The award is being sponsored by national telecommunications carrier, Globacom.
According to the organisers, the successful contenders will be announced from the longlist of 10 African authors earlier unveiled by the judges. Presentation of the prize to the eventual winner is slated for 5 July, 2014 at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos.
The award is a biennial event staged to recognise the best literary work produced by an African. It was established by the Lumina Foundation in 2005 to promote literary excellence in Africa and has since become the African equivalent of the Nobel Prize.
Authors in contention for the award include Othuke Ominiaboha, Akin Bello, Soji Cole, Comfort Adesuwa Ero, Toyin Abiodun, Isaac Attah Ogezi, Moshood Oba, Mayowa Saja, Wumi Raji and Akin Adejumo.
They were selected from a total of 163 entries submitted from 17 African countries in the genre of Drama, which is the focus of the 2014 edition.
According to the organisers, two entries each came in from authors in Algeria, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Mali, South Africa, Tanzania and Rwanda. Three entries each came in from Angola and Namibia. One entry each came in from Cameroon, Liberia, Togo and Zambia, four from Kenya, five from Uganda, and 128 from Nigeria.
Entries were invited from authors of any published play or collection of plays by the same author of African descent, published within the last two years (that is, a play published between 2012 and 2013). Globacom was also the main sponsor at the last edition.
The panel of five judges is drawn from Uganda, South Africa, Mali, Nigeria and Algeria.
Meanwhile to spice up the award, Globacom has concluded plans to invite some of its subscribers to the grand finale as Special Guests. To qualify to be invited, subscribers are encouraged to increase their airtime usage by 50 percent by 23 June, 2014.
Apart from being celebrated on the special night, Globacom said such lucky subscribers will also be entitled to other special perks.