Belgium-based Nigerian writer, Chika Unigwe, Thursday beat two shortlisted contenders to win the LNG Nigeria Prize for Literature 2012.
Her novel, On Black Sister’s Street, beat Only a Canvas by Olusola Olugbesan and Onaedo: The Blacksmith’s Daughter by Ngozi Achebe, a niece to foremost writer, Prof. Chinua Achebe.
The Chairman of the prize’s Board, Emeritus Professor Ayo Banjo, announced Unigwe as the winner in Lagos at a press conference, based on the verdict of the jury led by Prof. Abiola Irele.
Born in 1974, Unigwe has a Ph.D in Literature from the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. Her first novel,De Feniks, was published in 2005 and was shortlisted for the Vrouw en Kultuur debuutprijs for the best first novel by a female writer. She is also the author of two children’s books published by Macmillan, London.
She has published short fiction in several anthologies, journals and magazines including Wasafiri (University of London), Moving Worlds (University of Leeds), Per Contra, Voices of the University of Wisconsin and Okike of the University of Nigeria.
In 2003, Unigwe was shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing. In 2004, she won the BBC Short story Competition and a Commonwealth Short Story Competition award. In the same year, her short story made the top 10 of the Million Writers Award for best online fiction.
In 2005, she won the 3rd prize in the Equiano Fiction Contest. Her second novel, Fata Morgana, was published in Dutch in 2008 and will soon be released in English.
Chika Unigwe’s novel On Black Sisters’ Street, plotted on African prostitutes living and working in Belgium and was published in London by Jonathan Cape. She lives in Turnhout, Belgium.