Previous Winners

  Winners 2015
Safia Elhillo & Nick Makoha

Safia Elhillo is Sudanese by way of Washington, DC. She is a Cave Canem Fellow, and is currently pursuing an MFA in poetry at the New School. She is a poetry editor at Kinfolks Quarterly, a journal of black expression. Her work has been nominated for a 2015 Pushcart Prize, and appears or is forthcoming in several publications including Vinyl Poetry, Bird’s Thumb, Union Station Magazine, and RedLeafPoetry’s African Diaspora Poetry Folio. Safia teaches poetry at the International High School in Queens and lives in New York City.

Nick Makoha was born in Uganda but fled the Idi Amin dictatorship. He subsequently lived in Kenya and Saudi Arabia, and currently lives in London. His first pamphlet, The Lost Collection of an Invisible Man, was published by flippedeye in 2005. His second pamphlet, The Second Republic, was published in the African Poetry Book Fund’s ‘Seven New Generation African Poets’ series, and will be forthcoming as a full collection from Peepal Tree Press. Nick’s one man show, My Father & Other Superheroes, recently toured the UK, and he has also toured to the US, Finland, Czech Republic and the Netherlands.

                             Winner 2014 – Liyou Libsekal 

Liyou Mesfin Libsekal  was born in 1990 in Ethiopia and grew up traveling with her family, spending the majority of her childhood in different parts of East Africa. She earned a BA in Anthropology from George Washington University in 2012, with a minor in international affairs and a concentration in international development. Liyou returned to Ethiopia after spending a short time in Vietnam. Since January 2013 she has written on culture and the changing environment of her rapidly developing country for the Ethiopian Business Review.

                                 Winner 2013 – Warsan Shire

Warsan Shire is Kenyan-born Somali poet and writer, based in London. Born in 1988, she has read her work all over Britain as well as in South Africa, Italy, Germany, Canada, North America and Kenya.

Her poetry pamphlet, Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth, was published in 2011 by flipped eye. Her poems have appeared in WasafiriMagma and Poetry Review and in the Salt Book of Younger Poets (Salt, 2011). They have been translated into Italian, Spanish and Portuguese.