Adedimeji Quayyim Abdul-Hafeez
The Students’ Union Literary Prize, which is aimed at rewarding and honouring creativity and innovation amongst writers on campus, has announced the shortlist for its fiction and poetry categories.
According the SU Secretariat, which manages the prize, hundreds of entries were received from students across various departments, in the University of Ilorin.
From the large pool of brilliant submissions, 11 works of poetry and 5 short stories have been selected for final consideration by the editorial board.
The prize began during the 2018/2019 academic session under the aegis of Miss. Ajede Khadijah Adebanke, who then held the public office of the Assistant General Secretary of the Student Union. For this year, which is the second in its organization, the prize had been administered by the Secretariat of the Student Union, which has been directed by Miss. Ajede Khadijah Adebanke and Miss.Tracy Allen Ezechuckuwu, who serve in the capacity of the General Secretary and the Assistant General Secretary of the Union respectively.
The Editorial Board for the 2020 Prize has Francis Oluwapelumi Salako, who served as its Editor-in-Chief, and Oluwafunmi Obasa, Ope Adetayo and Pat Ashinze as its members.
The Prize’s theme, on which submitted entries are bound to focus on, considered the coronavirus pandemic which has shocked the world and has thrown the world into a situation of lost hopes. According to Miss. Ajede, the theme ‘’Grief’’ seeks “to interrogate the new ‘normal’ and the shifting balance of the world from our personal lives.”
In the fiction category, Akanbi Shedrack Opeyemi’s “The Rot Underneath Your Skin”, Mofe Phil Atie’s “Raindrops, Nightfall and Whatever Came After”, Mustapha Enesi’s “Bring It Closer”, Ella Agbai’s “Void” and Timothy Silas’s “Gay Grief Month” made the shortlist for the Prize.
Also, Atofarati Umar’s “Loop”, Oluyomi Banke’s “Blackness”, Adewara Joses’ “One Minute Silence”, Abdulsalam Adeiza’s “Bargain”, Damilola Blessing Johnson’s “Cicatrix”, Akinwale Peace Akindayo’s “Naming a Grief” and “Passion”, Animashaun A. Ameen’s “The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory” and “Saltwater”, Afolabi Abidemi’s “Reflections” and Alaba Muhammad Nasir’s work, “The Grieved Boy Reminisces on Dust and Darkness” got shortlisted in the poetry category of the prize.
Miss. Ajede and the Editorial Board commended the writers of the shortlisted entries, affirming that the stories and poems “showed courage and an uncanny ability to confront hidden darkness.”
However, the Editorial Board told UCJ UNILORIN that it could not select any nonfiction piece for consideration for the shortlist stage. The Board noted that submissions received in the category “did not meet up to the standards of the judging process.”
Selected works would be featured in the Zango Anthology following a workshop organized by the Union’s Secretariat. However, the workshop is scheduled to be conducted virtually for the Prize this year due to the COVID 19 pandemic and the continuous shutdown in academic activities. The Board told the UCJ UNILORIN that date and modality of this year’s workshop will be released shortly and would be duly communicated to the student populace and the public.