Chika Unigwe was today announced the winner of Africa’s richest literature prize, the 2012 Nigeria Prize for Literature. She received a cash prize of $100,000. Unigwe’s book, On Black Sisters’ Street beat out two other entries that made the final shortlist, namely Only A Canvas (by Olusola Olugbesan) and Onaedo: The Blacksmith’s Daughter (by Ngozi Achebe).
Unigwe is an Afro-Belgian writer of Nigerian origin, who currently lives in Turnhout, Belgium. She is the author of fiction, poetry, articles and educational material. Her second novel, On Black Sisters’ Street, was first published in Dutch in 2008 (as Fata Morgana) and in English in 2009. Night Dancer, her most recent novel, was released in June 2012 by Jonathan Cape. A multi-award winning author, Unigwe won the 2003 BBC Short Story Competition for her story “Borrowed Smile”, a Commonwealth Short Story Award for “Weathered Smiles” and a Flemish literary prize for “De Smaak van Sneeuw”, her first short story written in Dutch. “The Secret”, another of her short pieces, was nominated for the 2004 Caine Prize.
The Nigeria Prize for Literature is sponsored by the gas company, Liquefied Natural Gas Company. Launched in 2004, the award rotates yearly among four literary genres – prose fiction, poetry, drama, and children’s literature. Past winners of the prize include Mai Nasara, ezenwa Ohaeto, and Mabel Segun.
Over 200 entries were received for the 2012 prize.