The shortlist for the prize was announced in March 2014
See Press Release
The winner of the prize will be announced on 12 May 2014

The Brunel University African Poetry Prize is a major new annual poetry prize of £3000 aimed at the development, celebration and promotion of poetry from Africa.

Now in it’s second year, this year the prize is sponsored by Brunel University and Commonwealth Writers.

British-Nigerian writer, Bernardine Evaristo, who teaches creative writing at Brunel University and initiated the prize in 2012, describes her reasons for a new prize exclusively devoted to African poetry:

‘I have judged several prizes in the past few years, including chairing the Caine Prize for African Fiction in 2012, an award that has revitalised the fortunes of fiction from Africa since its inception in 1999. It became clear to me that poetry from the continent could also do with a prize to draw attention to it and to encourage a new generation of poets who might one day become an international presence. African poets are rarely published in Britain. I hope this prize will introduce exciting new poets to Britain’s poetry editors.’

Prairie Schooner, one of the leading literary magazines in the USA, having published continuously for eighty-five years, has committed to publishing some of the work of the winning poets of the Brunel University African Poetry Prize. Wasafiri, the leading British journal of international writing, will also publish the winner. Similar arrangements will be pursued with other major literary journals in the United Kingdom and the US.

The prize is open to poets who were born in Africa, or who are nationals of an African country, or whose parents are African.

The prize is for ten poems exactly in order to encourage serious poets. These poems may, however, have been published. Only poets who have not yet had a full-length poetry book published are eligible. Poets who have self-published poetry books or had chapbooks and pamphlets published are allowed to submit for this prize.In April 2013, Somali poet Warsan Shire was the first winner of the prize. Here she describes the impact of the prize on her writing career.

‘Since winning the prize I have travelled to six different countries to teach poetry and read my work; I’ve had interest from different literary agents and publishing houses; and I was  appointed the first Young Poet Laureate for London, definitely sure that the last one wouldn’t have happened had I not won the prize. I have a chapbook due out in America and small collections of my poems translated and published in Estonian and Danish.’ 

For more updates and additional information, stay tuned to this website. For press, media and other professional enquiries only, contact Bernardine Evaristo at Bernardine.Evaristo@brunel.ac.uk. (For the submission email address see Rules.)

Brunel University
Brunel University is a public research university located in London, winner of the Queen’s Anniversary Prize in 2011 for Higher and Further Education. The university has seen phenomenal rises in the recent university ranking guides. In the first Times Higher Education guide to the top 100 universities founded in the last 50 years, Brunel is placed 1st in London, 6th in the UK, and 35th internationally. English and Creative Writing have been ranked in the top quartile of the Guardian University Guide 2013.  www.brunel.ac.uk

Commonwealth Writers
Commonwealth Writers is the cultural initiative from the Commonwealth Foundation. It inspires writers, storytellers and a range of cultural practitioners to work for social change. Commonwealth Writers builds communities of less heard and emerging voices to influence, directly and indirectly, the decision making processes which affect their lives.  http://www.commonwealthwriters.org/

In collaboration with the African Poetry Book Fund, the Brunel University African Poetry Prize aims to develop a series of poetry workshops and courses in Africa in its efforts to provide technical support for poets on the continent.The African Poetry Book Fund

The African Poetry Book Fund
Bernardine Evaristo and the Ghanaian-Jamaican writer, editor and academic, Kwame Dawes, first worked together in 1995. When they discovered two months ago that they were both launching African poetry prizes, they decided to combine their efforts and resources. Kwame Dawes has just set up the African Poetry Book Fund, established at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The Fund will incorporate the establishment of the new African Poetry Book Series, to be published by the University of Nebraska Press and Amalion Press in Senegal, and the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets. The fund will also incorporate the Brunel University African Poetry Prize.