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The 2017 Babishai Haiku Award has gone to Kenya’s Kariuki wa Nyamu for his three haikus: “last night’s rain,” “in the morning mud,” and “fresh toad prints.” The announcement was made at the Babishai 2017 poetry festival, an initiative of Babishai-Niwe Poetry Foundation, whose director is Beverly Nambuzo Nsengiyunva.

The second place prize went to Nigeria’s Anthony Itopa Obaro for his “downpour,” “waterfalls from rooftops,” and “pouring into buckets.” The third place prize went to Ghana’s Kuadegbeku Pamela for her “moon circle,” “palms into palms,” and “an armless child breaks the ring.”

The shortlist included 17 poets: Charlotte Akello (Uganda), Usman Karofi (Nigeria), Ahmad Holderness (Nigeria), Fred Kweku Forson (Ghana), Acen Miriam Carolyne (Uganda), Kwao Jonathan Tetteh (Ghana), Nnedi Ezenwa Ohaeto (Nigeria), Alawonde Theophilus Femi (Nigeria), Justice Joseph Prah (Ghana), Osemwengie Zion (Nigeria), Abubasam Fahad Mutumba (Uganda), Akor Emmanuel Oche (Nigeria), Dan’bala Umar (Ghana), Obaji-Nwali Shegun (Nigeria), in addition to the top three.

The judging panel comprised: Adjei Agyei-Baah, co-founder of the Africa Haiku Network; Mercy Ituri, a landscape designer and award-winning haikuist from Kenya; and Emmanuel Kalusian, editor of the Mamba journal.

The three winners will receive cash prizes and be published in Mamba journal, as well as participate in selected literary festivals around the continent.

Congratulations to the winners.

Read the judges’ comments HERE.

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About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young was born in Aba, Nigeria and attended the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. A finalist for the 2016 Miles Morland Writing Scholarship, his short stories include: “A Tenderer Blessing,” which appears in Transition Magazine and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2015; “Mulumba,” which appears in The Threepenny Review; and “You Sing of a Longing,” which was shortlisted for the inaugural Gerald Kraak Award and appears in Pride and Prejudice, an anthology by The Jacana Literary Foundation and The Other Foundation. His essays appear in Interdisciplinary Academic Essays and in Brittle Paper where he is Deputy Editor. His interviews appear in Africa in Dialogue, Bakwa Magazine, SPRINNG, and Dwartonline. He is the editor 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 Nigerian cities. The second, Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (June 2017), focuses on professions in Nigeria. A postgraduate student of African Studies, he currently teaches English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu, Nigeria. When bored, he blogs pop culture at naijakulture.blogspot.com or 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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