What is Prose?

Prose in Nigerian literature

Prose is the aspect of literature that deals with story telling in form of ordinary writing. It is written in plain language without rhythm and other figure of speech or sound. It’s main message or theme is conveyed without acting. It exhibits a natural flow of speech and has no metrical structure.

In Nigeria, and literature world wide there is a higher percentage of prose available than the percentage of drama or poetry. Prose has it’s various types and kinds which contributes to the reason why it is most used in the literature market asides the fact that it is less complex to write unlike poems or drama.

Example of prose stories in Nigeria are, purple hibiscus by chimamanda Adichie, Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, The Famished Road by Ben Okri, oil on water by Helon Habila, open city by Teju Cole etc.

Types of prose

There are majorly two types which is the Fiction or imaginary stories and the nonfiction other known as true stories.


This is an imagined story that is not true or never happened in reality. It is based on the writers creativity, imagination and inspiration. Examples are Wole Soyinka’s ‘The man Died’,  Waiting for an Angel by Helon Habila etc.


Nonfiction prose are true stories, they are based on the event or action that really happened. Some of this stories could be biography or autobiography. Example of this can be Chidi Amuta’s ‘Prince of the Niger’, Bola Ige’s ‘Kaduna Boy’ etc.

Kinds of Prose

Irrespective of fiction and non fiction there are other categories of prose that can be either fiction or non fiction. This does not affect the subject of prose when it comes to the ‘Kinds’

Novel: This is a long, fictitious writing which depicts real life with imaginary characters. Novels are written in chapters, It creates society for characters and then uses them as a medium for commenting on the society. A novel has plot, characters, setting and conflicts. It is more than 15,000 words. Books like chimamanda’s Americanah, Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone are examples of this.

Novelette: This is almost the same as a novel in terms of setting and narration but the difference is in the length. The plot of the novelette is short and can be read in one sitting if you mean to. It has its Maximum between 10,000 and 14, 000 words. Chike and the river by China Achebe.

Short story: these are prose that are very easy to read and the messages  sent in few pages. Smaller in length than novelette. You could take a look at some short stories we have here on our site!.

Biographies: these include stories that hinge on experiences of people, could either be an experience by the author himself or herself , it is then referred to as Auto biography or could be by the author but based on the experience of another ( biography) it goes beyond their likes dislikes and attitudes to tell their reaction to a particular situation or life experience, examples of biographies are; ‘A fulfilled life of service’ by Arthur Mbanefo, ‘A matter of sharing; My memoir’ by A.B Assensoh.

Essays and journals: yes this are examples of prose too as they take the form of writing too. The only difference is that they most of the time qualify for formal writings.

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