Maneo Refiloe Mohale

Maneo Refiloe Mohale’s Everything is a Deathly Flower was named the winner of the African Poetry Book Fund’s 2020 Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry on June 4, 2021.

The Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry is named for poet, publisher, editor, businesswoman, and philanthropist, Glenna Luschei. Administered by the African Poetry Book Fund, it is awarded annually to a book published in the previous calendar year by an African poet. Some previous winners of the prize have been Mangaliso Buzani, Koleka Putuma, Juliane Okot Bitek, Rethabile Masilo, and Kobus Moolman.

The 2020 award was judged by Phillippa Yaa de Villiers who announced the winner to be the poetry collection Everything is a Deathly Flower by South African editor, feminist writer and poet Maneo Refiloe Mohale.

Phillippa Yaa De Villiers said, “What is poetry but a manifesto of love, an invitation and an outpouring of struggle? As we roam the pages of the collection, we witness the love of land, of nature, of humanity; one is shown pain turned into raw beauty. The collection stood out because of the author’s commitment to the image, to the story and to language itself. A gifted poet will, in this world of distractions, compel the reader to listen deeper, to filter out the verbosity of the market and the barrage of restrictions that humans place upon language, to find the voice of memory, a sound so close to silence.”

Mohale’s work has appeared in various national and international publications, including Jalada, Prufrock, The Beautiful Project, The Mail & Guardian, spectrum.za, and others. On winning, they tweeted, “Endless gratitude to @uHlangaPress & every single cutie who has embraced my little tome. Ke’a leboha, boBbz.”

Uhlanga Press the collections publisher said, “We are very grateful to the African Poetry Book Fund for this honour, which is the second Glenna Luschei Award won for a book published by uHlanga, the first being Collective Amnesia by Koleka Putuma, who won the 2018 award. Mohale’s collection was edited by fellow uHlanga poet Francine Simon, and we also thank her for her contribution to the project.”

The award comes with a cash prize of USD $1,000.