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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 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 ("You Sing of a Longing," 2017), for which he was shortlisted. His work has further been shortlisted for the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship in 2016 and a Pushcart Prize in 2015. His conversations appear in Africa in Dialogue, Bakwa, SPRINNG, and Dwartonline. 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 Nigerian cities. 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 teaches English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. 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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