Winners 2016

11th May 2016

The Brunel University African Poetry Prize
in partnership with Commonwealth Writers

PRESS RELEASE – WINNERS 2016   
The joint winners of the 2016 Brunel University African Poetry Prize are Gbenga Adesina (Nigeria) and Chekwube O. Danladi (Nigeria). 
Gbenga Adesina
Gbenga Adesina lives and writes in Nigeria. His poetry, essays and reviews have been featured or are forthcoming in Harriet’s Blog for the Poetry Foundation and in Jalada, Premium Times, Brittle PaperAfricanwriter.com, One Throne, Vinyl, Prairie Schooner and Soar Africa. In 2015, he was an Open Society Foundation Resident Poet on Goree Island, off the coast of Senegal. His first chapbook, Painter of Water, will be published by APBF in the spring of 2016. Follow him @Gbadenaija. The judges said: ‘Adesina’s poems are powerfully political, beautiful and truly searing. This is a poet with a compelling voice addressing concerns of injustice, memory, migration and family.’
Chekwube O. Danladi
Chekwube O. Danladi was born in Lagos, Nigeria and raised there, as well as in Washington DC and West Baltimore. A Callaloo Fellow, her writing prioritizes themes of teleological displacement, navigations and interrogations of gender and sexuality, and the necessary resilience of African and Afro-diasporic communities. She is currently working towards an MFA in Fiction at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. The judges said: ‘Danladi’s poems are glorious, risky, ambitious and fresh. There is a powerful sense of social justice and serious engagement with contemporary and historical African concerns.’


This is the fourth year of The Brunel University African Poetry Prize, a major poetry prize of £3000 aimed at the development, celebration and promotion of poetry from Africa. The prize is sponsored by Brunel University London and Commonwealth Writers. It is open to African poets worldwide who have not yet published a full poetry collection. Each poet has to submit 10 poems to be eligible.

The judges this year are the poets, critics and academics: Dr Kwame Dawes (University of Nebraska), Dr Tsitsi Jaji (University of Pennsylvania), Dr John Keene (Rutgers University), Dr Helen Yitah (University of Ghana), and Chair and founder, Dr Bernardine Evaristo, Professor of Creative Writing at Brunel University London. Out of a record-breaking 900 entries, the judges came up with a shortlist of ten poets. These were: Gbenga Adesina (Nigeria); Victoria-Anne Bulley (Ghana); Mary-Alice Daniel (Nigeria); Chekwube O. Danladi (Nigeria); Amy Lukau (Angola); Ngwatilo Mawiyoo (Kenya); Momtaza Mehri (Eritrea/Somalia); Saradha Soobrayen (Mauritius); Warsan Shire (Somalia) and Chimwemwe Undi (Zambia/Zimbabwe/Namibia)


Previous winners
2013   Warsan Shire (Somalia)
2014   Liyou Libsekal (Ethiopia)
2015   Safia Elhillo (Sudan) & Nick Makoha (Uganda)

The Prize works closely with the African Poetry Book Fund (APBF) at the University of Nebraska. The winners and most of the shortlisted poets of the past three years have had poetry pamphlets published with APBF in their ‘New Generation African Poets’ series of box sets, in partnership with the publishers Slappering Hol Press and Akashic Books in the USA.

The poets are available for interview and can be contacted via Bernardine.Evaristo@brunel.ac.uk

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. http://www.brunel.ac.uk

Commonwealth Writers
Commonwealth Writers, the cultural initiative of the Commonwealth Foundation, develops and connects writers across the world. It believes that well-told stories can help people make sense of events, engage with others, and take action to bring about change. Responsive and proactive, it is committed to tackling the challenges faced by writers in different regions and working with local and international partners to identify and deliver projects. Its activities take place in Commonwealth countries, but its community is global.
http://www.commonwealthwriters.org/