\\ Brunel International African Poetry Prize shortlist released

Brunel International African Poetry Prize has announced the shortlist for the 2018 poetry prize aimed at the development, celebration and promotion of poetry from Africa.

The competition, open to African poets from across the globe who have not yet published a full poetry collection will have participants submit 10 poems in order to be eligible for the prize.

In his address during the announcement, Benardine Evaristo Chair, founder and one of the judges said there are over 1000 entries, double the entries received since it’s inception in 2012.” The list of eight includes: Gbenga Adeoba (Nigeria); Hiwot Adilow (Ethiopia); Michelle Angwenyi (Kenya); Dalia Elhassan (Sudan); Nour Kamel (Egypt); Theresa Lola (Nigeria); Momtaza Mehri (Somalia) and Cheswayo Mphanza (Zambia), Evasristo added.

The prize has also seen quality of poetry submitted to increase exponentially each year as the field of published African poets widens.  According to the founder, there have been major shifts in the issues tackled by contemporary poets from Christian poems and poems influenced by black poets of the 60 and 70s to a vibrant modern day pool of poets who are tackling various issues of the 21st century like Last year’s winner Romeo Oriogun an openly gay poet. She attributes this shift to an even larger group of contemporary African poets.

Being an African poetry prize, one would expect that the majority of participants to be people from the continent or one’s who have had their education in the continent. However, this is not the case. “the sad truth is that many of our shortlisted poets are those who have had access to a creative writing education and a literature development culture outside of the continent, especially in the US and UK, where creative writing courses proliferate, from informal workshop groups through to postgraduate degrees,” said the book prize founder. She observed that, the number of poets from North Africa has now increased and for the second year in a row, a North African Poet has been shortlisted.

This year’s judges also include: Malika Booker; Kwame Dawes (University of Nebraska); Diana Evans and Mahtem Shiferraw (Brunel University London.) Previous winners of the prize are Romeo Oriogun-Nigeria (2017), Gbenga Adesina  and Chekwube O. Danladi – Nigeria (2016),   Safia Elhillo (Sudan)  and Nick Makoha- Uganda (2015), Liyou Libsekal -Ethiopia (2014) and   Warsan Shire-Somalia (2013)

The prize is sponsored by Brunel University Fund and the African Poetry Book Fund.

Brunel University London is a public research university based in London while African Poetry Book Fund (APBF) is based in the University of Nebraska in the USA.

The winner of the prize will receive £3000. Winners and shortlisted candidates are also published in an APBF poetry pamphlet New Generation African Poets series.


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