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Nkemngong Wins 2013 Eko Prize For Literature 

By Marie Solange Moki — Prof. John Nkemngong Nkengasong, lecturer at the Yaounde University I, has won the 2013 Eko Prize for Literature worth 1,000 US Dollars and a commemorative plaque. He received the prize during the Eko Prize award ceremony which took place on January 25 in Yaounde. According to a press release, he was declared winner as a prolific writer. Nkengasong’s works cut across many genres and have significant impact on Cameroon literature and beyond.

Talking to The Post, Nkemngong said he writes so that the younger generation should benefit from the experiences he has had in life. He advised emerging writers to devote a lot of commitment and sacrifice to their work so as to come out with something commendable. He emphasised that, young writers should not hurry over their works because they want to sell them, get money and gain popularity.

“Writing is not just for the money and immediate recognition but young writers should write because they have a burning issue they want to communicate to the world. As writers, we think we have some inspiration from God. God communicates messages that need to be transmitted to the world. That is why I am calling on all the young writers that, in order to be successful, they need time, dedication, sacrifice and, most importantly, ensure that they are actually doing their job,” Nkemngong stated.

According to the Centre Coordinator of the Anglophone Cameroon Writers Association, ACWA, Mbuh Mbuh Tennu, ACWA’s vision is to make Cameroon Literature visible. “Cameroon’s literature visibility has not fully been achieved because Cameroon lacks a cultural centre where Cameroonian works of art can be performed. We are working on that project” he revealed. Tennu added that, Cameroonians have to recognise the significance of arts, which their cultural heritage cannot be defined without.

During the ceremony, the four winners of the Eko Prize for Emerging Anglophone writers received cash Prizes of FCFA 250 Dollars each, and a commemorative plague bearing their names. These persons include: Abety Gwandi who won the prize for his prose fiction titled ‘Traded for a Trifle’; Gladys Focho Ngwi in the poetry category for her collection of poems titled ‘If you were God’; Hans Ndah Nyah in the drama category for his work ‘Jacob Ache the Great’ and Sampson Nkwetatang in the nonfiction category for his book ‘Discourse’.

Nkengasong has been guest author at the University of Oxford; guest speaker at the Chicago Humanities Festival, USA; Writer-in-residence at the University of Iowa, USA, where he was awarded the title of “Honorary Fellow In Writing”. He was also congratulated for promoting Anglophone Cameroon Literature in the past 10 years, through his leadership of the Anglophone Writers’ Association.

The Eko Prize for Literature is an award by the Eko Foundation for the furtherance of Literature, EFFL, an educational foundation incorporated in the State of Iowa in the United States of America. It was founded by Prof. Smith Lyombe Eko who has been sponsoring the Award ceremony for three years.

First published in The Post print edition no 01502

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