The Rainbow Book Club, a foremost literacy campaign organization, Project Managers of the Port Harcourt UNESCO World Book Capital 2014 and organizer of the Garden City Literary Festival (renamed the Port Harcourt Book Festival) will be hosting the three shortlisted writers for the 2023 Nigeria Prize for Literature in the Garden City.

In partnership with the sponsors of the literary award— the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG), the Port Harcourt Book Party is scheduled to hold on Sunday September 17th, at a venue in Port Harcourt to be decided by the organisers soon. Invited guests are to be seated by 2pm prompt, a statement by the organisation said.

According to the Rainbow Book Club, the one-day event, with the theme: “Conversations in the Garden” will feature- readings, reviews, dance-drama, prizes and diner in an atmosphere characterized by artistic excellence and high-level networking. 

“The choice of Port Harcourt to host the final shortlists before an eventual winner is announced is strategic, given the pivotal role the Garden City plays in the Nigerian oil and gas sector,” said Koko Kalango– Founder of the Rainbow Book Club.

“Last year, when we hosted the finalist poets here, the atmosphere was phenomenal. As we gear up to give the 3 exceptional playwrights an unforgettable experience in their creative career, along with the hospitable people of Rivers State, we look forward to having these writers in Port Harcourt, home to NLNG, sponsors of the $100,000 Nigeria Prize for Literature” Mrs. Kalango further stated.

On August 9th, at the Shell Zenith Bank Hall, MUSON Centre, Onikan Lagos, a Book Party for the 11 longlists was held by the Committee for Relevant Art, in conjunction with the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG).

The long awaited shortlist for Africa’s biggest literary prize was announced on August 29th 2023 by Andy Odeh- General Manager, External Relations and Sustainable Development, Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas (NLNG).

The books on the shortlist include: Grit by Obari Gomba, The Ojuelegba Crossroads by Abideen Abolaji Ojomu, and Yamatarawala—The Warrior King by Henry Akubuiro.

Of the three, the panel of judges said ‘these plays stand tall in terms of dramatology, language, performance, story and structure’. Members of the Advisory Board for the $100,000 prize are Professor Ahmed Yerima, Prof. Olu Obafemi and chaired by Professor Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo.

The NPL, which was instituted in 2004, rotates around 4 genres: prose, poetry, drama and children’s books. This year, the genre is drama. Out of a total of 143 entries, a longlist of 11 emerged on July 20th. On August 29th, a shortlist of 3 was announced. The winner will be proclaimed on 13th October at a ceremony in Lagos.

The Rainbow Book Club (RBC) is a non-profit organization (NGO) that encourages reading for social development. RBC, a UNESCO club, is part of the Rainbow Foundation that successfully hosted the year-long UNESCO World Book Capital 2014 project in Port Harcourt, making it the first city in sub-Saharan Africa to win the prestigious literacy campaign award.