Harriet Anena (pictured above) has won $10,000 as cash prize for the winner of the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa. Her book ‘A Nation in Labour’ a collection of social conscious poetry aced her the top prize that she won jointly with Nigerian writer Professor Tanure Ojaide (both pictured below) who wrote ‘Songs of Myself’.
Harriet is the first Ugandan to win the award which was founded in 2005. A total of 110 submissions from 11 countries comprising Uganda, South Africa, Rwanda, Kenya, Nigeria, were submitted for the 2018 award.
First published in 2015, A Nation in Labour is a collection of poetry that paints the picture of the giant politician, the restless citizen, the clueless youth, those struggling to hear from life’s scratches and the one’s hunting for words to describe their experience of fiery flames of affection (her publisher’s sum up of what the book is about).
The Wole Soyinka Prize is awarded every two years to the best African writers in all the literary genres. This year’s edition was the sixth and genre was poetry. Nine African poets were shortlisted.
The shortlist comprised Dami Ajayi — Clinical Blues, Servio Gbadamosi — A Tributary in Servitude, Tanure Ojaide — Songs of Myself, Harriet Anena — A Nation in Labour, Iquo Eke — Symphony of Becoming.
Hyinus Ekwuazi — One Day, I ‘ll Dare to Raise My Middle Finger at the Stark and the Reaper, Su’eddie Vershima Agema — Home Equals Holes – Tale of An Exile, Abayomi Animashaun — Sailing for Ithaca, and Onesi Taiwo Dominic — Heaven on Earth – A Harvest of Poems.
The awards took place yesterday (December 9th 2018) at Muson Centre, Onikan in Lagos.