Eight poets make Brunel African Poetry Prize 2018 shortlist

The Brunel African Poetry Prize 2018 shortlist was announced on March 12, 2018 with eight poets making the cut from the hundreds submitted.

The Brunel African Poetry Prize was founded in 2012 by British-Nigerian writer, Bernardine Evaristo, Professor of Creative Writing at Brunel University London to revitalise African poetry, which at that time was almost invisible on the literary landscape. The Prize planned to draw attention to this poetry and to encourage a new generation of poets who might one day become an international presence. The prize gives prize money to an unpublished African poet worth 3,000 UK pounds.

Winners of the prize in the last few years have been Warsan Shire (Somalia) in 2013, Liyou Libsekal (Ethiopia) in 2014, Safia Elhillo (Sudan) & Nick Makoha (Uganda) in 2015, Gbenga Adesina & Chekwube O. Danladi (Nigeria) in 2016 and Romeo Oriogun (Nigeria) in 2017.

The organisers of the poetry prize have announced those who made the cut this year. Those on the shortlist and in the running for one of the coolest poetry prizes on the continent are;

  • Gbenga Adeoba (Nigeria)
  • Hiwot Adilow (Ethiopia)
  • Michelle Angwenyi (Kenya)
  • Dalia Elhassan (Sudan)
  • Nour Kamel (Egypt)
  • Theresa Lola (Nigeria)
  • Momtaza Mehri (Somalia)
  • Cheswayo Mphanza (Zambia)

Prize founder Bernardine Evaristo speaking about the shortlist said: “This year there were just over 1000 entries, double the amount we received when the Prize began in 2012. The quality of poetry submitted to the Prize has increased exponentially each year as the field of published African poets widens and they then become role models for even newer poets coming up. For example, when the Prize began there were a lot of Christian poems, and poems influenced by black poets of the 60s and 70s – a sign that aspiring poets on the continent were not being exposed to enough contemporary secular African poetry.”

You can read more from the shortlist announcement here.

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