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(From left to right) The second, first and third place winners: Ajah Henry Ekene, Bakre Fadil Adedamola, and Bona O. Solomon.

The winners of the 2017 Nigerian Students’ Poetry Prize have been announced. The first, second and third prizes went to Bakre Fadil Adedamola, Ajah Henry Ekene, and Bona O. Solomon, respectively.

Founded in 2016, the Nigerian Students’ Poetry Prize is an initiative of Poets in Nigeria (PIN) created to recognize poetry by undergraduates in the country. The prize’s 2017 edition opened for submissions on 15 February 2017. In an email to Brittle Paper, the prize moderator, Kolade Olanrewaju Freedom, stated that they received “725 poems from students drawn from over 100 tertiary institutions in Nigeria and abroad,” bring their total to “over 1000 entries since inception.” The three winners, he wrote, “are entitled to a total cash prize of ₦200,000 and an exclusive feature in the seventh issue of PIN Quarterly Journal and NSPP’s anthology of top 100 poems to be released later in the year.”

Bakre Fadil Adedamola, a 400-level student of Philosophy at the University of Ibadan, won the ₦100,000 first prize for “Mixed History.” Ajah Henry Ekene, a medical student at the University of Benin whose poetry we have published, won the ₦60,000 second place for “Song of Freedom.” Bona O. Solomon, a student of Guidance and Counselling at the University of Ibadan, took the ₦40,000 third place for “Beach Chronicles.”

The 2017 prize was judged by Denja Abdullahi, Ismail Bala, Kukogho Iruesiri Samson, Bassey Asuquo, Oladele Babajamu, Izuchukwu Okeke, Ceri Naz, and NLNG Prize-winner Akachi Ezeigbo, who chaired the panel. The judges stated:

“[We] have chosen the winning poem “Mixed History” and the two runners-up “Song of Freedom” and “Beach Chronicles” (in that order) not just because of the content but because they are virtually error-free and make judicious use of imagery, especially as seen in the skillful use of symbols and metaphors.  They are charming poems in every sense of the word and explore serious themes and interesting ideas.”

The 2016 prize was won by Noah Oladele of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife; Chinelo Nwangwu of the University of Ibadan; and Chisom Okafor of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Chisom Okafor has been published by us.

Congratulations to the winners.

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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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