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QWP 2020 Winner

Alex Kadiri wins the 2020 Quramo Writer's Prize

The winner of the Quramo Writers’ Prize 2020 is Alex Kadiri, for his entry, Sunshower, beating the other top contenders: Aliyu Baba-Ari, with his entry titled The Paths That Takes Us, and Adeniyi Timilehin Ayoade with Unchained

Alex Kadiri was awarded the cash prize of one million naira and a publishing deal with Quramo Publishing Limited. He is the fourth recipient of the prize since its inception in 2017, the first winner being Samuel Monye for Give Us Each Day, which was subsequently published by Quramo Publishing Limited.

Sunshower is a man’s coming-of-age story in the shadow of his mother’s illness and his troubled relationship with his father. The panel of judges, including acclaimed authors, Toni Kan, Molara Wood, and A. Igoni Barrett, described Sunshower as a “finely wrought tale by a gifted storyteller; a fascinating story with big themes, teeming with secrets and engaging with a myriad of human emotions.

We were impressed with the remarkable build-up of sense of place and character in this story. The chapters are compact and punchy, and peopled with relatable characters that readers will empathise with. There is an admirable sensitivity to those small details that bring characters to life on the page’s emotions. 

It’s been a pleasure finding this important new voice in this year’s entries, and we see it as the first salvo from a writer that will go places. The work reminded us of a young Ben Okri, particularly his first novel, Flowers and Shadows.

Our winning entry has been a very rewarding read for us, with a hugely satisfying ending. A deserving first place winner that is sure to delight readers far and wide.”

The second and third place entries also received accolades from the judges. The Path That Takes Us, by Aliyu Baba-Ari, was praised for its originality and immersive description of its northern Nigerian setting. The writer’s depiction of military life was regarded as convincing, well-researched, and richly imagined.

“This entry is an interesting evocation of disillusionment and dreams going sour, and serves as a commentary on the society we live in today. Good fiction, after all, holds a mirror to society, and this entry does not disappoint. It is the Nigerian contemporary story writ large and told by a promising and confident writer.”

Unchained by Adeniyi Timileyin Ayoade is a story about domestic violence and mental illness. According to the judges, its opening scene was one of the most dramatic of all the entries read, a fast-paced, elaborately plotted story. “We believe this manuscript has promise and can be pruned into pleasing prose.”

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 edition of the Quramo Festival of Words (QFest), an annual 3-day event featuring Masterclasses, workshops, book chats, panel discussions, went virtual. The theme was Creativity Reset! The Future of Words, and it ran from Friday, 2 October to Sunday, 4 October 2020, culminating in the only physical event of the line-up, the unveiling of the Quramo Writer’s Prize (QWP) winner. This grand finale took place with restricted access, at the Q Hall of The Simi Johnson Centre, and was attended by the judges, the top five contestants.