The Brunel International African Poetry Prize has announced the shortlist for its 2021 edition. It features eight young poets from across the African continent, mostly making a first time appearance.

Now in its eight year running, the Brunel Prize, founded by Booker Prize-winning author Bernardine Evaristo in 2013 and co-sponsored by Commonwealth Writers, Brunel University, London and the African Poetry Book Fund, 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. The winning poet receives a cash reward of £3,000.

The judging panel for 2021 comprised the poets Karen McCarthy Woolf (Chair), Rustum Kozain (South Africa) and Makhosazana Xaba (South Africa).

Here are the shortlisted poets:

  • Kweku Abimbola (Gambia)
  • Arao Ameny (Uganda)
  • Isabelle Baafi (South Africa)
  • Asmaa Jama (Somalia)
  • Tumelo Motabola (Lesotho)
  • Oluwadare Popoola (Nigeria)
  • Yomi Sode (Nigeria)
  • Othuke Umukoro (Nigeria)

Aside from the three Nigerian entries, the shortlist is nationally diverse. Previous winners of the prize include 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, Somalia’s Jamila Osman and Egypt’s  Nadra Mabrouk in 2019, and Egypt’s Rabha Ashry in 2020.

The winner will be announced on May 11th.

Congratulations to the shortlisted poets.