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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.

 

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Post image from Brunel University Website.

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Otosirieze is deputy editor of Brittle Paper. He is a judge for the 2018/19 Gerald Kraak Prize and the 2019 Miles Morland Writing Scholarships. He is an editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective, which has published volumes including We Are Flowers (2017) and The Inward Gaze (2018). He is the curator of the Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies of writing and visual art focusing on different aspects of Nigerianness, including Enter Naija: The Book of Places (2016), which explores cities, and Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (2017), which explores professions. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition. He has completed a collection of short stories, You Sing of a Longing, is working on a novel, and is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He combined English and History at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, is completing a postgraduate degree in African Studies, and taught English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts writing and editing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze. When bored, he Googles Rihanna.

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