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African Poetry Prize Shortlist announced | 11-Mar-15

This is the third year of The Brunel University African Poetry Prize, a major new poetry prize of £3000 aimed at the development, celebration and promotion of poetry from Africa. The prize is sponsored by Brunel University and  Commonwealth Writers. Each poet has to submit 10 poems to be eligible. 

The first winner of the prize was Somali poet Warsan Shire in 2013; the second winner was Ethiopian poet Liyou Libsekal last year. The Prize works closely with the African Poetry Book Fund and Prairie Schooner poetry journal (est 1926), both at the University of Nebraska. The winners and most of the shortlisted poets of the past two years have all since had poetry pamphlets published with APBF in their 'New Generation African Poets' series of box sets, with US publishers Slappering Hol Press and Akashic Books.

The winner will be announced on 11th May 2015.

The judges this year are poets, critics and academics, Gabeba Baderoon, Malika Booker, Kwame Dawes, Warsan Shire, and Chair, Bernardine Evaristo. Out of 733 entries, the judges came up with a shortlist of six poets, none of whom has yet published a full length poetry book.

The shortlisted poets are: Safia Elhillo (Sudan); Inua Ellams (Nigeria); Nick Makoha (Uganda); Bernard Matambo (Zimbabwe); Ngwatilo Mawiyoo (Kenya); Hope Wabuke (Uganda). For more information on the poets, click here.

Bernardine Evaristo, founder of the prize and Chair of judges, says about this year's poets, 'This year we saw nearly 200 more entries for the prize than last year and an overall improved quality of poetry. The poets shortlisted show an impressive degree of accomplishment, range and individuality. The judges chose what they considered to be the strongest poetry and it was good to see poets included from the east, west and south of Africa, and to once again have an equal gender balance.'

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