Zimbabwean poet Togara Muzanenhamo has won the 2022 Luschei Prize for African Poetry for his poetry collection Virga.
The Luschei Prize for African Poetry is a pan-African book prize funded by poet Glenna Luschei and promotes African poetry written in English or in translation. The prize annually recognizes and awards $1,000 to a book of poetry by an African writer published in the previous year.
The other three finalists for the Luschei prize this year were Sudanese poet K. Eltinaé for The Moral Judgement of Butterflies, Motswana poet Tjawangwa Dema for An/Other Pastoral, and Congolese poet Fiston Mwanza Mujila for The River in the Belly.
The judge Matthew Shenoda praised Muzanenhamo’s poetry for its expansive imagination of space, movement, and time, saying:
Virga by Togara Muzanenhamo is a collection of poems that reify an age-old truth: the past is not past; and like the elements we experience, the events that once were, linger in the air we occupy now. Borderless in his interests, Muzanenhamo explores moments both intimate and public, known and unknown, staking claim to the expansive notions of what it means to be of or from a place. Muzanenhamo’s poems travel like the weather and show the ways both “here” and “there” are always present. He is a poet with a broad gift for craft and a thinking that resists being placed in any single frame.
Togara Muzanenhamo was born in Zambia and raised in Zimbabwe. His debut poetry collection Spirit Brides (2006) was shortlisted for the Jerwood Aldeburgh First Collection Prize. Virga is Muzanenhamo’s fourth collection of poetry and was labeled a Brittle Paper notable book of the year, an Irish Times Best Poetry Book of the Year, and a Poetry Society Autumn Recommendation.
Congrats to Muzanenhamo!