We are elated to announce the judges for the sixth edition of the Nigerian Students Poetry Prize (NSPP) which opened for submissions on 15th January 2021.

The Judging Panel includes Dr. Austine Amanze Akpuda, Dr. Santosh Bakaya, Dr. Soji Cole, Kukogho Iruesiri Samson and Adekunle-Oguntoyinbo Shola Phebian.

The judges will select the prize winners and exceptional entries for the NSPP 2021 anthology.

Dr. Austine Amanze Akpuda is an Associate Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature, Abia State University, Uturu, Nigeria. As a Poet, Literary and Film Critic, he has presented conference papers on Nigerian Poetry since 1992 and taught Nigerian Poetry since 1997. A great promoter of Nigerian Poetry, Dr. Akpuda has been a Guest Judge for contests organized by the Association of Nigerian Authors, Rivers and Imo State chapters. He has also rendered service in the same capacity to a joint effort of the Alex Ekwueme University, Ndufu Alike, Ebonyi State and the state branch of the Association of Nigerian Authors. Dr. Akpuda served in the College of Screeners of the popular and well-regarded Africa Movie Academy Award (AMAA) in 2015 and 2017. He has edited a number of books, including Reconstructing the Canon: Festschrift in Honour of Prof Charles E. Nnolim (2001), Currents in Early American Literature (2000), The Black Presence in Caribbean Literature (2005), The Literary Response to Modernity (2014), Paradigms in Modern Nigerian Drama (2017) and co-edited with Greg Mbajiorgu the 614 page 50 Years of Solo Performing Art in Nigerian Theatre 1966 – 2016 (2018). Dr. Akpuda’s first major book-length study of new Nigerian Poetry is entitled: Celebrating God’s Own Robot: Nigerian Poets & the Gani Fawehinmi Phenomenon (2003) while a major pan-Nigerian and trans-generational study of Nigerian Poetry (Symphony and Symmetry in Nigerian Poetry) is awaiting publication. Dr Amanze Akpuda as Editor of ANA Review: Journal of the Association of Nigerian Authors in 2012 initiated what has now become the New Series of the Journal. He was a member of the NSPP Judging Panel in 2020.

Dr. Santosh Bakaya is a poet, novelist, essayist, reviewer, Ted-Speaker and academician. Winner of the International Reuel Award for Literature for her long poem, Oh Hark! (2014), she has been critically acclaimed for her poetic biography of Mahatma Gandhi, Ballad of Bapu (Vitasta, 2015). Invited to many literary festivals, she was one of the delegates at SAARC Sufi Festival, 2017 (Jaipur). Recipient of The Universal Inspirational Poet Award (2016) instituted by Pentasi B Friendship Poetry and Ghana Government, she has also received the Bharat Nirman Award for literary Excellence (2017), Setu Award (2018), [Pittsburgh, USA] ‘in recognition of a stellar contribution to world literature’ and The first Keshav Malik award 2019 ‘for her entire staggeringly prolific and quality conscious oeuvre’. Her Tedx Talk on The Myth of Writers’ Block is very popular in creative writing classes. She runs a very popular column, Morning Meanderings in Learning and Her published works include: Where are the lilacs? (Poems, Authorspress 2016), Flights from my Terrace (Essays, Authorspress, 2017), Under the Apple Boughs (Poems, Authorspress, 2017), A Skyful of Balloons (Novella, Authors’ press, 2018), Bring out the tall tales (short stories with Avijit Sarkar, Authorspress, 2019), Only in Darkness can you see the stars (A biography of Martin Luther King Jr, Vitasta , 2019) and Songs of Belligerence (Poems, Authorspress, 2020). She was a member of the NSPP Judging Panel in 2020.

Dr. Soji Cole is a Nigerian academic and creative writer. He has won the African Theatre Association (AfTA) Emerging Scholars Prize, and the International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR/FIRT) ‘New Scholars Prize.’ He has also won the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) Playwriting Prize, and the Nigeria Prize for Literature. He has taught creative writing in two universities in Nigeria. He is an alumnus of the Fulbright fellowship to Kansas State University in the United States between 2014 and 2015. He has been invited as a fellow, guest writer/artist and guest speaker at universities in Nigeria, the US, Germany and the United Kingdom. Though he is well known as a playwright, his poetries have appeared in local and international anthologies. He was a member of the NSPP Judging Panel in 2018. He currently lives in St. Catharines, Ontario, with his wife and two young daughters.

Kukogho Iruesiri Samson is a Nigerian writer, publisher, multimedia journalist and youth mentor. He is known for his work with young Nigerian writers and the promotion of Nigerian writing through his multi-platform educational and publishing firm, Words Rhymes & Rhythm Ltd. Kukogho has authored a quadrilogy of poetry collections — What can words do (2013) and I said these words (2015), Words of eros (2017) and WE WHO Sowed hurt and beaded pains (2017) and has won accolades for his writing, including the Orange Crush 1st Prize for Poetry in 2012, the Nigerian Writers Award (NWA) for ‘Best Poet In Nigeria 2015’ and the 2017 ANA Prize For Fiction (First-Runner-Up), for his unpublished novel, The Devil’s Pawn. He was also listed on the Nigerian Writers Awards’ list of 100 Most Influential Nigerian Writers Under 40 in 2016 and 2018. Kukogho is the 2018 winner of the Dusty Manuscript Prize contest, an initiative of Guaranty Trust Bank PLC. He is NSPP’s longest-serving judge having served on the jury for five editions.

Adekunle-Oguntoyinbo Shola Phebian has an intellectual background in English/Literary Studies, Communication/PR, Screen Writing and Stage Arts. She is a creative director, recycle arts enthusiast, performance poet and writer, with several publications to this claim. She is an enthusiastic and adaptive personality with grand interest in making positive impacts on several budding “creatives”. Phebian is efficiently involved in communications drills, with unique wit to capture the interest of various age grades. Her uniquely carved niche has attracted several awards of excellence, including for Learning Enhancements in Lagos for 2011/12 and 2012/13 by Lagos Eko Projects Scheme, honorary award by AREF as an Educational Consultant in 2014, Commendation Award for contributions toward the development of Arts and Culture in Nigeria by Footprints Art Ambassadors. She is serving on the NSPP Judging Panel for the first time.

Leave a Reply