We are delighted to announce the winners of the 6th Brunel International African Poetry Prize, a major prize of £3000 aimed at the development, celebration and promotion of poetry from Africa. The Prize is sponsored by Brunel University London and the African Poetry Book Fund. It is open to African poets worldwide who have not yet published a full poetry collection. Each poet has to submit 10 poems in order to be eligible.
This year the judges decided to award the prize to the three poets they considered the most outstanding. This is in keeping with the Prize’s project of supporting multiple voices from the African continent. Out of over 1000 entries, the winners are Hiwot Adilow (Ethiopia), Theresa Lola (Nigeria), and Momtaza Mehri (Somalia).
The shortlisted poets were Gbenga Adeoba (Nigeria); Hiwot Adilow (Ethiopia); Michelle Angwenyi (Kenya); Dalia Elhassan (Sudan); Nour Kamel (Egypt); Theresa Lola (Nigeria); Momtaza Mehri (Sudan); Cheswayo Mphanza (Zambia).
The judges this year were the writers and academics: Malika Booker; Kwame Dawes (University of Nebraska); Diana Evans; Mahtem Shiferraw; and Chair and founder, Bernardine Evaristo (Brunel University London).
The Prize works closely with Kwame Dawes and the African Poetry Book Fund (APBF) at the University of Nebraska. All the winners and most of the shortlisted poets of the past five years have had poetry pamphlets published with APBF in their stunning New Generation African Poets series of box sets with Slappering Hol Press and Akashic Books (USA). Some of these poets are also publishing, or about to publish, their first full collections. This is an incredibly exciting time in the development of African poetry. We expect that many of the poets engaged in our impactful poetry initiatives will become the leading African poets of the future. Many of them are still very young, in their twenties, and we expect great things from them, but also those from poets who are older but still relatively new to publishing poetry. African poetry is now staking its claim on the global literary landscape. We are witnessing a quiet revolution.
Note of Thanks
For five years the Prize was financially supported by Commonwealth Writers of the Commonwealth Foundation, a huge act of generosity that was much appreciated.
2013 Warsan Shire (Somalia)
2014 Liyou Libsekal (Ethiopia)
2015 Safia Elhillo (Sudan) & Nick Makoha (Uganda)
2016 Gbenga Adesina (Nigeria) & Chekwube O. Danladi (Nigeria)
2017 Romeo Oriogun (Nigeria)
The poets are available for interview and can be contacted via Bernardine.Evaristo@brunel.ac.uk
Brunel University London
Brunel University London is a public research university located in London, winner of the Queen’s Anniversary Prize in 2011 for Higher and Further Education. English and Creative Writing at Brunel is always ranked in the Top 11 for the subject, out of 106 universities, in the Guardian University League Table. www.brunel.ac.uk