Nigerian writer, Chetachi Igbokwe, has been declared winner of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) Prize for Drama 2021, for his drama, Homecoming, at the just concluded annual ANA Convention which held from November 3-6, 2021, at Mamman Vasta Writers’ Village, Abuja.
The playwright, Igbokwe, who hails from Mbaitolu in Imo State, Nigeria, is a fresh graduate of English and Literary Studies, from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. His first screenplay, Island of Happiness, was described by the Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, as a “magnificent work of art.” He is a 2019 alumnus of the Purple Hibiscus Trust Creative Writing Workshop, facilitated by the Nigerian writer, Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie, and the Editor of the University of Nigeria’s students’ journal, The Muse, Number 48; a journal of creative and critical writing, founded by Chinua Achebe in 1963.
Igbokwe’s unpublished award-winning drama, Homecoming, premiered at the New Arts Theatre of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka on May 6, 2021, with a second and third performances on the 7th and 8th of May. On August 5, it was performed again at the Enugu Sports Club, Enugu, by the Maestro Theatre Company, in collaboration with the Enugu State Council for Arts and Culture. The play was directed by Ugochukwu Ugwu, of the Department of Theatre and Film Studies, UNN.
Homecoming chronicles the life of Nwakibe, a retired headteacher and catechist, who embarks on a mission to find his mission. It revolves around Johnson, a writer, in search of a story for his new book and the making of a potential AMA Award-winning film.
Commenting on the news of his victory, Igbokwe wrote on his Facebook:
“Last night, I was announced Winner of the 2021 ANA Drama Prize, for my unpublished drama, ‘Homecoming.’
“This award is dedicated to the loving memory of my beloved father, DEE JOE IGBOKWE, who transitioned few days ago.
“I was absent at the ANA convention and dinner last night in Abuja, but thanks to my friend, Iwu Jeff, who received the plaque on my behalf.
“Thank you, ANA!”
Homecoming has been described by the Theatre Fellow, Greg Mbajiorgu, as “a play written with a deep sense of stage.” The writer and critic, Leo Ejesu, praises Homecoming as a play that “plunges you afresh into a meditation on tragedy.” For Ngiga Review, Igbokwe “writes from a director’s chair – a place of expertise and precision.”