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The 2018 Babishai-Niwe Poetry Award has announced a longlist of 35 names, 26 of whom are Nigerian.

Founded in 2009 by Uganda’s Beverly Nambozo Nsengiyunva, director of Babishai-Niwe Poetry Foundation, the BN Poetry Award was originally aimed at highlighting poetry by Ugandan women. The first winners were Lilian Akampurira Aujo in 2009, Sophie Brenda Alal in 2010), Sanyu Kisaka in 2011, and Susan Piwang in 2012. After the prize was expanded to all African poets, the winners were Tom Jalio in 2014, Adeeko Ibukun in 2015, and Sanya Noel and Moyosore Orimoloye in 2016.

The 2018 Award judges are Remi Raj, Rehema Nanfuka, and Alfred Msadala.

Here is the longlist:

  • Stephen Ogunfoworin (Nigeria)
  • Janet Kali (Kenya)
  • Marial Awendit (South Sudan)
  • Adedayo Adeyemi Agarau (Nigeria)
  • Osadolor Osayande (Nigeria)
  • Madu Chisom Kingdavid (Nigeria)
  • Olamide Adio Olanrewaju (Nigeria)
  • Ayodele Sosegbon (Nigeria)
  • Mhraf Worku (Ethiopia)
  • Onele Peter-Cole (Nigeria)
  • Rex Omonla (Nigeria)
  • David John Esu (Nigeria)
  • Babalola Joseph O (Nigeria)
  • Olabode Olanrewaju (Nigeria)
  • George Gumikiriza (Uganda)
  • Chiedozie Kelechi Danjuma (Nigeria)
  • Bo Chacha (Nigeria)
  • Lod Nael (Nigeria)
  • Muna Chinedu (Nigeria)
  • Badmus Jabril (Nigeria)
  • Darlington Chibueze Anuonye (Nigeria)
  • Kazeem Adeyomola Ismail (Nigeria)
  • Tariro Ndoro (Zimbabwe)
  • Ogwiji Ehi-kowochio Blessing (Nigeria)
  • Grace Sharra (Malawi)
  • Yakeeb (Nigeria)
  • Badmus Jubril (Nigeria)
  • Wafula p’Khisa (Kenya)
  • Boluwatife Afolabi (Nigeria)
  • Zibusiso Mpofu (Zimbabwe)
  • Samson Abanni (Nigeria)
  • Okwudili Nebeolisa (Nigeria)
  • Daniel Many Owiti (Kenya)
  • Timothy Ojo (Nigeria)
  • Salawu Olajide (Nigeria)

The longlisted poems can be read HERE.

The winner will be announced at the 2018 Babishai-Niwe Poetry Festival from 3-6 August, in Kapchorwa and Mbale, Uganda.

Congratulations to the 35 poets.

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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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