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The 10 poets shortlisted for the 2019 Brunel International African Poetry Prize.

Ten poets have been shortlisted for the 2019 Brunel International African Poetry Prize. Among them are the Nigerian poets Inua Ellams and Mary-Alice Daniel who are making their third and second appearances on the shortlist, respectively.

Founded by Bernardine Evaristo in 2013, the £3,000 prize—co-sponsored by Commonwealth Writers, Brunel University, London and the African Poetry Book Fund—is in its sixth year and is “aimed at the development, celebration and promotion of poetry from Africa.” It is open to African poets worldwide who have not yet published a full poetry collection. Each poet has to submit 10 poems in order to be eligible.

This year’s judging panel, which considered around 1,000 entries, comprises the Egyptian poet Matthew Shenoda, the Tunisian poet Leila Chatti, and the South African poet Phillippa Yaa de Villiers.

Here are the shortlisted ten. Click on their names to read their entries:

Commenting on the transformation of the poetry scene, Bernardine Evaristo said: “When I started the prize in 2012, African poetry was almost invisible on the literary landscape. Today there are legions of poets out there successfully building careers and being heard.” She continued: “It demonstrates the power of schemes such as mine, the African Poetry Book Fund and other initiatives, to revolutionise the literature of an entire continent. The future looks very bright.”

The Brunel 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, Nigeria’s Gbenga Adesina and Chekwube O. Danladi in 2016, Nigeria’s Romeo Oriogun in 2017, and the trio of Somalia’s Momtaza Mehri, Nigeria’s Theresa Lola, and Ethiopia’s Hiwot Adilow in 2018.

The winner will be announced on the 30 May 2019.

We congratulate the ten poets. As with the 2018 shortlist—HEREHERE, and HERE—their poems will be reviewed on Brittle Paper. 

 

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Otosirieze is deputy editor of Brittle Paper. He is a judge for the 2018/19 Gerald Kraak Prize. 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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