Launched in 2018, the 20.25 Africa: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry collective is pushing institutional boundaries in the African literary scene by advocating for “multiple conversations on the sensibilities of being African in a modern, global system.” Its first volume is guest-edited by Gbenga Adesina and Safia Elhillo, and its second by Yasmin Belkhyr and Kayo Chingonyi. Mukoma wa Ngugi has stated that the project “boldly marks a before and after moment in the African literary tradition.” The collective’s founding editors include the Nigerian poets Ebenezer Agu and Gbenga Adeoba and the visual artist Osinachi.
The series’ third issue will be guest-edited by Itiola Jones, who recently joined the Collective, and Cheswayo Mphanza.
Itiola Jones received the 2018 Brittle Paper Award for Poetry, teaches an online poetry workshop called The Singing Bullet, and currently co-edits the Young African Poets Anthology. A music journalist, she is a Graduate Fellow with The Watering Hole and holds fellowships from Callaloo, BOAAT Writer’s Retreat, and Brooklyn Poets. She is Book Editor with Indolent Books and Editor at Voicemail Poems, and freelances for Complex, Earmilk, NBC News Think, Ambrosia for Heads, and elsewhere. An MFA candidate in Poetry at UW-Madison and recipient of the 2019-2020 Kemper K. Knapp University Fellowship, she splits her time between Southern California and New York.
Cheswayo Mphanza was born in Lusaka, Zambia and raised in Chicago, Illinois. His work has been featured in or is forthcoming from The New England Review, New Orleans Review, American Literary Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Vinyl, Prairie Schooner, RHINO, and elsewhere. He has received fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Callaloo, Columbia University, and Cave Canem. A finalist for the Brunel International African Poetry Prize and a recipient of the 2017 Hurston/Wright Award for College Writers, he earned his MFA from Rutgers-Newark.
Please read the following guidelines closely. Submissions that do not follow any of the instructions will not be considered for inclusion in the anthology. This issue of the anthology is guest-edited by Itiola Jones and Cheswayo Mphanza.
– The anthology is for African poets who are between the ages of 20—or who would be 20 by the time of publication—and 35.
– Contributors published in the most recent issue are not eligible for this issue, but may send in work for subsequent issues.
– Submissions can cut across various themes and each contributor may send three poems ONLY. Please send us your best poems, properly edited.
– The anthology is ONLY for African poets. We define an African poet as someone born in Africa, or whose parents (at least one) are African, or someone who currently lives in Africa and has done so for at least 10 years.
– Poets who have had a full-length book or a chapbook or pamphlet published in electronic or print formats can submit. Poets who have not been published in any form or on any literary forum/outlet, and fall into the acceptable age bracket, are encouraged to submit as well.
– Only poems written in English will be accepted. Works translated into English from any African languages may be submitted, but they must be accompanied by the originals.
– There is no stipulation as to the content of submitted poems but no poem should exceed 40 lines in length.
– Identifying information, including names of poets, addresses, phone numbers, and publication histories, should NOT be included in the manuscript or in the body of the email. Submit through your personal email address and include the same email address on the last page of your manuscript.
– Submissions will be judged solely on merit.
– We accept simultaneous submissions, but please notify us immediately if any of your poems is accepted elsewhere.
– All entries must be submitted in a SINGLE WORD DOCUMENT, typed in TIMES NEW ROMAN, font 12, single spaced, and sent via email only to the 20.35 Africa Team at [email protected].
– The email subject should read “20.35 AFRICA SUBMISSION.”
– Submissions must be written in black ink. No colours.
– Each poem must have a title.
– Poems must be the original work of the contributor.
– Deadline for submissions is midnight (UTC+01:00) of 16 March 2020.
– We hope to respond to every submission by the end of June. However, there may be a delay in response time pending the editors’ final decision.
– Accepted contributors must be available at all times, for correspondence and the editing of their works that may follow.
– All enquiries should be sent to [email protected]. Enquiries sent to the submissions email address will not be read.
– We will not entertain any enquiries concerning submission status till after June.
– Except on rare occasions, we do not take down poems once they have been published in our anthology.
Enquiries about 20.35 Africa: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry should be directed to [email protected].