MSU English faculty member one of three on shortlist for $100K Nigerian literature prize

Contact: Sarah Nicholas

Portrait of Saddiq Dzukogi
Saddiq Dzukogi (Photo by Grace Cockrell)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—A Mississippi State English faculty member is one of three nominees selected for a shortlist of finalists to receive the 2022 Nigeria Prize for Literature for his poetry written in tribute to his late daughter.

Saddiq Dzukogi, an assistant professor in MSU’s Department of English, recently was shortlisted for his book, “Your Crib, My Qibla” (University of Nebraska Press, 2021). The winner will be notified on Oct. 14 and will earn a $100,000 cash prize awarded by Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas.

“I feel honored to be in the final three for the prize,” Dzukogi said. “This is an incredibly personal book and an elegy. I am grateful that both the book and the prize perpetuate the memory of my beloved daughter.”

A native of Minna, Nigeria, Dzukogi said, “The book is about a father’s rebellion against death and its realities. It is an attempt to massage memory and imagination, to manifest both ethereal and physical experiences with a deceased child.”

The Nigeria Prize for Literature, the country’s most prestigious literary award, rotates yearly among four categories—prose fiction, poetry, drama and children’s literature. This year 287 poetry books were entered for the competition. The winner will be selected by the Advisory Board for the Nigeria Prize for Literature.

“Your Crib, My Qibla” also is nominated for the Derek Walcott Poetry Prize—an awarded presented annually for a full-length book of poems published in the previous year by a living poet who is not a U.S. citizen. To be announced Oct. 13, the winner of the Derek Walcott Poetry Prize will receive $1,000 from Arrowsmith Press, in partnership with the Derek Walcott Festival in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, and the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre.

“Your Crib, My Qibla” was named one of the 29 best poetry collections by Oprah Daily last year. Dzukogi also is the author of the chapbook, “Inside the Flower Room” (Akashic Books, 2017), which was selected by editors Kwame Dawes and Chris Abani for the APBF New-Generation African Poets Chapbook Series. His poetry is featured in various magazines including Kenyon Review, Cincinnati Review, Poetry Magazine and Prairie Schooner.

Dzukogi was a finalist for the 2017 Brunel International African Poetry Prize and a recipient of numerous fellowships and grants from the Nebraska Arts Council, Pen America, the Obsidian Foundation, and the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, where he earned his Ph.D. in 2022 in English with a specialization in ethnic studies and creative writing. He earned his bachelor’s degree in mass communication in 2015 from Ahmadu Bello University, in Nigeria.

Dzukogi joined MSU’s faculty this fall and currently teaches Introduction to Creative Writing and the Craft of Poetry.

Part of MSU’s College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of English is online at

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