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Ten poets have been named on the 2017 shortlist of Brunel University’s International African Poetry Prize. The announcement was made in a statement published on the official website of the prize.

The £3,000 prize, co-sponsored by Commonwealth Writers, is in its fifth year and is “aimed at the development, celebration and promotion of poetry from Africa.” It is open to poets yet to publish a full book.

Here are the shortlisted ten.

The prize was won by Somalia’s Warsan Shire in 2013, Ethiopia’s Liyou Libsekal in 2014, Sudan’s Safia Elhillo and Uganda’s Nick Makoha in 2015, and Nigeria’s Gbenga Adesina and Chekwube O. Danladi in 2016.

There are two returnees on this year’s shortlist. Nick Makoha was a co-winner in 2015, and Kayo Chingonyi was shortlisted in 2013. Safia Elhillo, a co-winner in 2015, also returns, but as a judge. She’ll be overseeing the selection process alongside Chris Abani, Kwame Dawes, Patricia Jabbeh Welsley, and Bernardine Evaristo, who is the Chair and founder of the prize.

We are beyond delighted to call your attention to the fact that two of the shortlisted poets are Brittle Paper poets. In June 2016, we published Romeo Oriogun’s heartbreakingly beautiful poem, “Metamorphosis,” a powerful exploration of LGBT life, love and experience. And last month, we published another of his poems, “Portrait of a Dead Artist,” as well as one by Saddiq Dzukogi titled “Collect Rainwater.”

As Brittle Paper poets recognized by the Brunel poetry prize, Dzukogi and Oriogun join the fine company of Gbenga Adesina. We published one of Adesina’s poems in 2014. He went on to win the Brunel Prize in 2016. Last year, one of his poems was published in the New York Times. [read here if you missed it]

It fills our hearts with pride and joy to see writers featured on our platform go on to do amazing things with their work. Congrats to Dzukogi and Oriogun! We are rooting for them with all our hearts.



Post image from Brunel University Website.

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Otosirieze Nnaemekaram is a writer, an academic, and Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review ("Mulumba," 2016), Transition ("A Tenderer Blessing," 2015), and in an anthology of the Gerald Kraak Award for which he was shortlisted ("You Sing of a Longing," 2017). His work has further been shortlisted for the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship in 2016 and a Pushcart Prize in 2015. He attended the 2018 Miles Morland Foundation Creative Writing Workshop facilitated by Giles Foden. He is the curator of the ART NAIJA SERIES, a sequence of themed e-anthologies of writing and visual art exploring different aspects of Nigerianness. The first, ENTER NAIJA: THE BOOK OF PLACES (October, 2016), focuses on cities in Nigeria. The second, WORK NAIJA: THE BOOK OF VOCATIONS (June, 2017), focuses on professions in Nigeria. He studied History and Literature at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, is currently completing a postgraduate programme in African Studies and Pop Culture, and teaches English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. He has completed a collection of short stories and is working on a 600-page novel. When bored, he just Googles Rihanna.

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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

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