By Ogova Ondego
Published November 1, 2016
Aisha Muhammad Sabitu of northern Nigeria has won BBC Hausa Service’s inaugural short story writing contest for women.
Sabitu, from Katsina, won with Sansanin’Yan Gudun Hijira (Refugee Camp), a story she says was inspired “by a visit to an IDP camp in Adamawa State.”
According to BBC, Sabitu’s “story offers a creative and powerful glimpse into the lives of those displaced by the Boko Haram crisis in the northeast of Nigeria.”
The contest, that was launched in July 2016 “to give female writers a voice and platform to express themselves creatively,” is reported to have received more than 200 entries from across the world.
Saying BBC Hausa is “delighted to give talented women an opportunity to tell their stories,” Jimeh Saleh, Acting Editor of BBC Hausa Service, says the broadcaster is “very pleased with the level of interest the contest has generated and the quality of the winning entries.”
The first and second runners-up are, respectively, Amina Hassan Abdulsalam with Sai Yaushe? (Till When?) and Amina Gambo with In Da Rai (As Long as There is Life).
Together with overall winner Sabitu, the three women received cash prizes and plaques at an awards night in the Nigerian political capital, Abuja, on October 28, 2016.
The judges have also selected 12 other stories as worthy of mention.
Jimeh Saleh had on July 26, 2016 noted that BBC Hausa “intended to promote the culture of writing among women and also give them a platform to express their creativity because historically, women in Africa have been known to be great custodians of folklore and gifted moonlight story tellers.”
BBC, that broadcasts to Hausa-speaking audiences on radio, online and TV in West Africa and the Diaspora, says it shall broadcast excerpts of the 15 selected stories to its estimated weekly audience of 23.3 million people.
The three-member judging panel was chaired by Dr Aliya Adamu Ahmad. Other judges were Ibrahim Sheme, a literary critic, journalist, publisher, and director of media and publicity at the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN); and Rahma Abdul Majid, a veteran writer and literary critic.