Anambra-born young writer, Izunna Okafor has yet added another prestigious feather to his literary status, as he won the 2019 Young Achievers Award as the Best Young Writer of The Year.
This was disclosed at the award ceremony which took place at the NAF Headquarters Conference Center, Abuja, and which drew the presence of many dignitaries and other young achievers beating the drum well in their various flanks of endeavours across the country.
Presenting the award to him, the president of the United Youth Leaders for Development Initiative — a non governmental and non profit making organization — popularly known as Global Youth Representatives, Ambassador Okwudili Victor described Izunna as a multi-talented young man who has proved his worth in the field of pen. He disclosed that, though he had not met him in person prior to the day of the award ceremony; he had been following his works and activities online and has also eaten from his pot of knowledge, both as a young novelist, poet, essayist and journalist.
He maintained that the awardee's profile, works and achievements over the years were critically reviewed alongside those of others who were also nominated for the award, after which he was declared the overall best and winner by the juries.
According to him, this was on the ground that Izunna has not only written and published wonderfully in different aspects of writing, both creatively and journalistically; but he perfectly writes both in English and Igbo Languages, which stands him out among he equals.
He further noted that he has also contributed immensely in the promotion of Nigerian Literature in various ways, both through his writing, through coaching of burgeoning writers, as well as hosting and organizing of literary events and festivals, especially the annual Chinua Achebe Literary Festival which he hosts annually in honour of a foremost Nigerian literary Legend — Late Prof. Chinua Achebe — and which he does under the umbrella of the Society of Young Nigerian Writers, which he is the Coordinator in Anambra State.
Responding, Izunna Okafor who is also a Reporter of the National Light Newspaper and lead writer of the Ka Ọ Dị Taa award-winning Igbo Newspaper extolled the organizers of the event for their efforts in discovering, recognizing and rewarding young Nigerians who are beating the drum louder in their various fields, even as he described the award as a call to do more.
Izunna Okafor is an award-winning Young Nigerian Novelist, Poet, Essayist, Journalist, Editor, Translator, Publicist, Igbo Language Activist and an Administrator who hails from Ebenator in Nnewi South L.G.A. of Anambra State Nigeria.
His is the author of 'Ikem's Adventure' published in 2012, during his secondary school; 'The Curse of A Widow' published in 2013; 'The Faithful Children' published in 2014; 'Ajo Enyi (his debut Igbo novel and fourth book published in 2015.
With 'Ajo Enyi', he became the first writer to win the 2015/2016 Nigerian Writers Award as the Indigenous Writer of The Year; the Pita Nwanna Award for Igbo Literature in the 2015 Society of Young Nigerian Writers Award, and also got shortlisted for The 2015 Young Nigerian Writer of The Year
His other books include African Blood (A Short Story), Nzúzù M Egbuo M, (Igbo novel), Educated Illiterate and Teach Me Grammar. He also has numerous articles/essays, poems and short stories to his credit, most of which are published online, nationally and internationally.
He has won and been nominated for a plethora of awards which include:
- The Nigerian Writers Award/Indigenous Writer of The Year 2015/2016
- Pita Nwana Prize For Igbo Literature, 2015
- Nigerian Heritage Icon Award/Best Young Writer of the Year Federal Republic of Nigeria 2016
- NYSC Essay Competition 2012
- Anambra Campus Award 2017/Campus Writer of The Year 2017
- Anambra Exclusive Youth Choice Awars/Youth Writer of The Year 2016
- NAPAS Essay Competition 2017
- Award of Recognition From Students Union Government, Unizik (2017)
- Nigerian Writers Award/Young Writer of The Year 2015/2016
- Campus Best Writer/Journalist of The Year 2018
- SLAM Hero Youth International Award/Innovative Youth of the Year 2016
- Award of Academic Excellence from The National Association of Public Administration Students (2016)
- Inspire Award /Outstanding Youth in Academics 2017
- NAPAS Academic Icon of The Year 2017
- Award of Excellence from The Society of Young Nigerian Writers 2016
- Anambra Exclusive Youth Choice Award/Outstanding Youth of the Year 2017
- Starlett Entertainment Award/Creative Writer of the Year 2016
- Young Author Award, 2018
- Creative Crew Africa/ Young Talent of The Year 2018, among others
- Best Secretary General of NAPAS (2018)
At the age of 22, Izunna was nominated for The Future Award Africa 2016/African Prize For Education, which is the biggest and most prestigious African Youth Award.
Others awardees at the 2019 Young Achievers Award included the youngest speaker in the Federal Republic of Nigeria and speaker of Oyo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Adebo Edward Ogundoyin; the youngest Deputy Governor in the country and Deputy Governor of Zamfara State, Mr. Mahadi Aliyu Gusau; Mrs. Nancy Iloh of African Independent Television (AIT) among 14 others.
See photos from the event: