Okot p'Bitek

Okot p’Bitek

The Okot P’Bitek Prize for Poetry in Translation for emerging African poets was recently announced. The one-off award will be administered by the Centre for African Cultural Excellence (CACE) will celebrate fifty years since the publication of Okot P’Bitek’s Song of Lawino.

Okot P’Bitek was a legendary poet from Uganda who became immediately immortal when his long poem Song of Lawino was published in 1966. He did some other work after this but this has always been his defining work.

The new prize aims to award poets who write originally in an African indigenous language and translate their own poetry to English to celebrate the process of self-translation and bi-linguality in African poetry.

The prize judging panel comprises Duduzile Mabaso (Chair), Juliane Okot Bitek and Toni Stuart. The winners of the prize shall be announced at The Writivism Festival in Kampala, scheduled for August 22 – 28, 2016.

The prize amount is USD 500$ and the winner will also have an option of attending a one-month writing residency at a soon to be announced African university.

Entrants must be emerging poets (yet to publish/launch a full collection/album of poetry) and resident in an African country. African countries are defined by membership to the African Union.

Entries must be submitted online, by emailing them to info@writivism.com as attachments (not in the body email), clearly labelled in the subject: 2016 Okot P’Bitek Prize Submission.

Entries shall be received from April 22 until May 31, 2016. Acknowledgement emails shall be sent after the deadline. Queries already answered by these guidelines shall not be answered.

Only the English version of the poetry will be considered by the judges for the prize. The original, clearly mentioning the African language in which it is written must also be included in the entry. Only poems translated by the poet are eligible.

For more information on entry please click here.