The 2016 edition of the Brunel University African Poetry Prize was jointly won by two Nigerian poets.
Chekwube O. Danladi has been praised for the “sense of social justice” that permeates her work. She was born and raised in Lagos. After spending some time in Washington, DC and in Baltimore, she now studies creative writing at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.
In the past, her work has explored questions of displacement, sexuality, and the African diaspora.
According to the judges of the poetry prize, “Danladi’s poems are glorious, risky, ambitious and fresh.”
Gbenga Adesina is considered a leading voice among the new generation of African poets. His chapbook titled Painter of Water will be published sometime this year through the support of the African Poetry Book Fund.
The judges found his unique poetic voices compelling and describes his work as “beautiful” and “powerfully political.”
Adesina’s win is a special moment for us here at Brittle Paper. Two years ago, his poem, titled “Rediscovery,” was published right here on Brittle Paper [read here].
We saw promise in his writing and never had a moment’s doubt that he would excel. To see him gain recognition for his abilities as a poet and on such a prestigious platform gives us a sense of validation and makes us truly happy.
The prize, initiated in 2013, is open to those born in, nationals of, or whose parents are from Africa. The goal of the prize is to develop, celebrate and promote poetry from the African continent. Open exclusively to unpublished poets with a manuscript of at least ten poems, it comes with a (not at all shabby) honorarium of £3,000.
Since inaugural winner Warsan Shire (whose poetry you may have seen heavily featured in Beyonce’s album Lemonade) won the 2013 prize; year after year, Brunel University and its partners have recognized and promoted emerging African poets.
Congrats to Danladi and Adesina for such a well-deserved win.
Entries for the 2017 prize open on September 1 and closes on November 30.
Read the winning poems here.