Nigerian writer wins literary award

A Nigerian writer, Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto, has won the New Hampshire Institute of Art’s 2018 Writing Award: Narratives in Prose, Poetry.

Apart from the $100 prize money, Mr. Ezenwa-Ohaeto wins $5,000 worth of scholarship to study MFA in New Hampshire.

The NHIA writing programme is centred on the idea of deeply examining stories that effectively communicate an idea in any genre. The institute requested submissions from new and emerging writers looking to network with the literary community.

The award committee included MFA writing director Monica Bilson, administrative director of graduate studies and writing faculty Beth Ann Miller and dean of graduate studies, Lucinda Bliss.

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Submissions were received from all over the world, and after a blind peer review, the winner was selected as well as two finalists.

“We picked Chinua’s (Ezenwa-Ohaeto) poetry as the winner because of its distinct voice and idiosyncratic use of language,“ the organising award committee said on the choice of the winner.

“Each stanza has a surprise in it, whether it’s an unusual metaphor or striking image. His poetry makes you see everyday life through new eyes. The committee also picked two finalists, Amber Burke for her short story, What’s Left and NHIA alumnus and Admissions Officer, Mathew Gile, for his poem, Make a Pincer.

“We had no idea the winner lives in Nigeria and one of the finalists was in the building next door until the judging process was over, but we are very pleased with the results!”

Chinua also recently won the Castello di Duino Poesia Prize for an unpublished poem in 2018. As the overall winner in the Castillo di Duino Poesia Prize, Italy, Ezenwa-Ohaeto got a reward of €500.

He became the 14th edition winner in the competition with his poem entitled My Home: May a Dawn bring a new Smile upon it, in a competition that involved 16 contestants from different parts of the world.

The jury of the 2018 Castillo di Duino Poesia Prize included Dr. Marji Čuk, Dr. Guido Cupani, Professor Stefan Damian, Dr. Arben Dedja, Dr. Antonio Della Rocca, Professor Pietro U. Dini, Professor Silvia Favaretto, Professor Franco Gatti, Dr. Irini Karavalaki, Dr. Giancarlo Micheli, Dr. Isabella Panfido, Professor Sandro Pecchiari, Professor Betina Prenz, Dr. Lili Radoeva Destradi, Professor Enzo Santese, Professor Michele Sità Dott, Silvia Storti, Dr. Antonio Staude, Dr. Iza Strzelecka, and Professor Anna Zoppellari

Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto studied English Language and Literature at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State. His works have won the Association of Nigerian Author’s literary award for Mazariyya Ana Teen Poetry Prize, 2009; National Association of Students of English Language and Literary Studies (Certificate of Honour as the Best Student Poet, 2012, Delta State University chapter).

He was a runner-up in Etisalat Prize for Literature, Flash Fiction, 2014 with I Saved My Marriage; and the winner of Speak to the Heart Inc. poetry contest, 2016.

He has also contributed his works in journals, magazines and blogs such as Of Minstrelsy and Mask, Matatu, Germany; Awka Journal of English Language and Literature; Lunaris Review, AFREADA, and Kalahari Review.

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