FB_IMG_1507554725416In this brief chat, Ikeogu Oke talks about winning the 2017 edition of The NLNG Prize for Literature and his forthcoming works.

  • Congratulations on winning the 2017 edition of The NLNG Prize for Literature. How do you feel?

 Delighted, humbled and deeply grateful.

  • What motivated you to put in for the prize? Was this your first attempt?

 My friend, Dr. Wale Okediran, read the unpublished manuscript of The Heresiad and asked me to publish it and enter it for the prize, describing it as “magnum opus”. I hesitated at first but later yielded to his persuasion. Then I read the entry rules and was particularly attracted by the one stating that the prize would be awarded strictly on the basis of merit. I believed that. And it strengthened my resolve to enter for the prize. Those were the two motivations of my entry. It was not my first time of entering for the prize.

  • Your winning entry ‘The Heresiad’ has been tagged a classic. What influenced this form of disciplined writing?

THE-HERESIADI wanted to produce an epic as a special variant of the types of poems I had read from some of the masters whose works I was enamoured with.

  • How do you think The NLNG Prize for Literature has contributed to the development of Literature in Nigeria?

 Greatly! It is arguably the biggest stimulator of literary creativity in our country. It continues to prove that literary creativity can be a cultural asset and also very profitable to those who engage in it. And all that is besides its positive impact on the image of our country and the possibility of its producing literary icons that can help strengthen that image.

  •  We are sure you won’t be resting on your oars after this great win. What should we expect from Ikeogu Oke in terms of literary projects?

I recently completed a novel, New Jerusalem, and a new collection of poems, One Hundred Love Poems. I look forward to publishing both as I continue to write new poems for the joy of it.

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