Six poets have been shortlisted for the 2020 Brunel International African Poetry Prize. Among the list, which is dominated by women, are the Nigerian poet Inua Ellams and Mauritian poet Saradha Soobrayen, who are making a fourth and second appearance 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 seventh 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 comprises of the British-Jamaican poet Karen McCarthy Woolf (Chair), Zambian poet Kayo Chingonyi, Kenyan author and editor Billy Kahora, Somali-British poet Momtaza Mehri and South African poet Koleka Putuma.

Here are the shortlisted writers:

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  • Akosua Afiriyie-Hwedie (Zambia).
  • Rabha Ashry (Egypt).
  • Inua Ellams (Nigeria).
  • Amanda Holiday (Sierra Leone).
  • Nour Kamel (Egypt).
  • Saradha Soobrayen (Mauritius).

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, and Somalia’s Jamila Osman and Egypt’s Nadra Mabrouk in 2019.

We congratulate the shortlisted poets. As is our tradition, the poems would be reviewed here on Brittle Paper.