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Earlier this year, we announced a call for submissions for Volume II of 20.35 Africa: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, guest-edited by Yasmin Belkhyr and Kayo Chingonyi. We are excited to announce that the anthology will be available on Brittle Paper this November.

Issue II of 20.35 Africa follows from the groundbreaking first volume of 20.35 Africa, published in 2018, that was guest-edited by Brunel Prize winners Gbenga Adesina and Safia Elhillo. This independent anthology series is the brainchild of four Nigerian poets—Ebenezer Agu, D.E. Benson, ‘Gbenga Adeoba, and Chisom Okafor–and the visual artist-writer Osinachi. It is the first of its kind to focus only on poetry from across the African continent. Part of its impetus is to place newer voices in poetry alongside better known poets in order to address the visibility gap between African poetry and prose, to support the emergence of young African poets, and to cultivate the growth of an independent, not-for-profit continental poetry culture. As Ebenezer Agu, editor-in-chief of the 20.35 Africa series, remarks in the editor’s note to the first volume:

Our vision is to annually compile a collection of poets – the relatively unknown, the budding, and the established – between the ages of 20 and 35 years. […] Our desire to contribute to the community of Africans – writers and readers – who are engaged with poetry is towards the goal of engendering growth, not making profit.

Issue I of 20.35 Africa drew together 33 poems from poets residing in Africa or in diaspora that rendered with aesthetic care issues that are common to youth of African descent. In a similar vein, Issue II of 20.35 Africa draws together 30 poems from poets both residing in Africa or elsewhere that combine subject-matter and artistic merit such that they are, as Agu puts it in his editor’s note to the issue, “multiple conversation on the sensibilities of being African in a modern, global system.”

Poets whose works are featured in the project include the Somali-British poet Momtaza Mehri, Brunel Prize 2018 joint winner and Young People’s Poet Laureate of London; the Egyptian-American poet Nadra Mabrouk, Brunel Prize 2019 winner; and Megan Ross, winner of the 2017 Brittle Paper Award for Fiction and nominee for the 2018 Brittle Paper Award for Poetry.

Also featured are the Nigerian poet Saddiq Dzukogi, author of several poetry collections including Inside the Flower Room (2018); the South African poet Maneo Mohale, author of the collection Everything is a Deathly Flower (2019); the Nigerian poet and musicologist Echezonachukwu Nduka, author of the collection Chrysanthemums for Wide-Eyed Ghosts (2018); the South African poet Sihle Ntuli, author of the collection Stranger (2015); the Nigerian poet Goodness Olanrewaju Ayoola, author of the collection Meditations (2016); the Ghanian poet Jay Kophy, editor of the anthology to grow in two bodies (2019); the Somalian-Canadian poet Oubah Osman, author of the chapbook Hereditary Blue (2019); the Nigerian poet Rotimi Robert, author of the chapbook Bipolar Sunshine (2019), the Nigerian poet Adeeko Ibukun, winner of the 2015 Babishai Poetry Prize; the Nigerian poet Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto, winner of the 2009 Association Of Nigerian Author’s Literary Award for Mazariyya Ana Teen Poetry Prize, and the Nigerian poet Nome Emeka Patrick, winner of the 2018 Festus Iyayi Award for Excellence in Poetry.

The anthology also features emerging young poets such as the Ghanian-American poet Emmanuel Oppong-Yeboah, reviews editor at Winter Tangerine; the Nigerian poets Hauwa Shaffii Nuhu, Ugochi Okakor, and Precious Okpechi, whose works have been featured on Brittle Paper or in e-anthologies available on Brittle Paper; the Egyptian journalist and poet Sara Elkamel; South African poets Kopano Maroga, Sibulelo Manamatela, Asisipho Shaun Burwana, and Sinaso Mxakaza; the Nigerian poets Jeremiah Agbaakin, Ekpenyong Kosisochukwu, and Oyin Olalekan; and the poets Ianne, Isabelle Baffi, Kondwa Rayne, and Nermeen Hegazi.

Congratulations to the 20.35 Africa Team.

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