£3k prize up for grabs in Brunel’s African poetry contest


Credit: Brunel University London

Just eight African poets are left from a field of 1,000, battling for the £3,000 grand prize in a prestigious contest sponsored by Brunel University.

The 6th Brunel International African Poetry Prize is sponsored by Brunel and the African Poetry Book Fund, run by Kwame Dawes at the University of Nebraska.

The African Poetry Book Fund (APBF) aims to develop, celebrate and publish the poetic arts of Africa.

These are the 8 shortlisted poets: Gbenga Adeoba (Nigeria); Hiwot Adilow (Ethiopia); Michelle Angwenyi (Kenya); Dalia Elhassan (Sudan); Nour Kamel (Egypt); Theresa Lola (Nigeria); Momtaza Mehri (Somalia); Cheswayo Mphanza (Zambia)

One of the judges is the British-Nigerian writer, Professor Bernardine Evaristo of Brunel University, who teaches creative writing. She is an award-winning author of eight books including “Mr Loverman,” and founded this prize in 2012.

The professor has reviewed over 1000 entries and says: “The quality of poetry submitted to the Prize has increased exponentially each year as the field of published African poets widens. Now we have an incredible assortment of twenty-first century poets exploring a wide range of themes and styles.”

The winner of the £3,000 prize is to be announced on 1st May 2018.

Last year’s winner, Romeo Oriogun of Nigeria is the first openly gay winner, his work mainly consists of how it’s like to live as a gay man in Africa.

Professor Evaristo added: “We always aim to select a continental spread of talented poets.”

However, she says: “There needs to be more creative writing opportunities for the aspiring writers who live in Africa.”

According to the UNICEF data literacy rates of youths aged between 15 to 24 and adults in West and Central Africa is about 50%.

For more information about this poetry prize visit: http://africanpoetrybf.unl.edu/

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