Nigerian poet Abu Bakr Sadiq has won the 2023 Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets for his collection Leaked Footages.
The Sillerman Prize was founded in 2013 by philanthropists Laura Sillerman and the late Robert F.X. Sillerman. In partnership with the University of Nebraska Press, the prize celebrates the work of emerging African and African-diasporic poets by awarding poets who have not yet published a poetry collection.
The winner receives $1000 and book publication through the University of Nebraska Press as part of the African Poetry Book Series. Past recipients of the prize include Tares Oburumu, Sherry Shenoda, and Cheswayo Mphanza.
This year’s prize winner Abu Bakr Sadiq is a Nigerian poet born and raised in Minna. Sadiq is currently an undergraduate student at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. Sadiq also won the 2022 IGNYTE award for Best Speculative Poetry and was a finalist for the 2023 Evaristo Prize for African Poetry. His work has been nominated for the SFPA Rhysling Award, the Pushcart Prize, and published in Boston Review, The Fiddlehead, Palette Poetry, and elsewhere.
Sadiq was over the moon when he heard the news and announced it on Twitter:
My first poetry collection “Leaked Footages” has won the Sillerman Prize. Unbelievable but yes!!!! Alhamdulillah. 🤯😭
This here is a dream come true. Truckloads of gratitude to everyone who helped me put this baby together. No way this could have happened without y’all. 💞❤️🔥🙏🏾 https://t.co/ejEXuLK1oq
— Abu Bakr As-Siddique (@bakronline) July 29, 2023
One of the judges for the prize, poet John Keene, was full of praise for Sadiq’s collection Leaked Footages. He remarked that the manuscript’s “Afrofuturist, speculative approach, conveyed by a Nigerian Muslim speaker, which underpins the collection from the opening poem, feels refreshing and suggests a distinctive, compelling perspective.”
The finalists for the 2023 prize included “Trespass” by Jamila Osman (Somalia), “Year of Blood” by Adedayo Agarau (Nigeria), and “Our Weary Talons” by Gracia Mwamba (Congo).
Congrats to Sadiq on the well-deserved win!