Cheluchi Onyemelukwe wins the 2021 NLNG Nigeria Prize for Literature


$100,000 worth Nigeria Prize for Literature, Africa’s most prestigious literary award, rotates yearly amongst four literary categories: prose fiction, poetry, drama, and children’s literature.

The 2021 winning entry ‘The Son of the House’ is a profoundly unconventional novel that portrays the lives of two women in different worlds whose paths crossed during captivity. But they soon realised their path had earlier crossed at various points.


The stories of Nwabulu, a one-time housemaid and now a successful fashion designer, and Julie, an educated woman who lived through tricks, deceits, and manipulations, are told through a mosaic plot structure against the backdrop of modernity and traditional patriarchy, poverty, and neglect.

The chairperson of the panel of judges, Professor Olutoyin Jegede, is a Professor of Literature in English at the University of Ibadan.

Other panel members include Professor Tanimu Abubakar, a Professor of Literature in the Faculty of Art, Ahmadu Bello University, and Dr. Solomon Azumurana, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Lagos.

The Advisory Board of the Prize also announced the appointment of the International Consultant for this year’s prize, Tsitsi Dangarembga, an acclaimed Zimbabwean author.

Her first novel, Nervous Conditions (1988), was hailed as one of the most important novels of the twentieth century and was included in the BBC’s 2018 list of the 100 books that shaped the world.

Her novels, The Book of Not (2006) and This Mournable Body (2018) were longlisted for the Booker Prize 2020.

Her plays have been performed at the University of Zimbabwe, and her short musical Kare KareZvako, (Mother’s Day, 2005) was screened at Sundance.

Her films have also received international recognition.

Cheluchi Onyemelukwe is a Nigerian author and academic.

She is best known for her 2019 family saga novel, The Son of the House.

She is also a Professor of Law at Babcock University, where she served formerly as an Assistant Professor.

In 2019, she won the Sharjah International Book Fair.

The Nigeria Prize For Literature was established in 2004 and sponsored by Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) company.


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