Ugandan poet Mildred Kiconco Barya received an Honorable Mention in the Poetry category of the Eric Hoffer Awards for her 2023 collection The Animals of My Earth School.

The Eric Hoffer Book Award honors the memory of the great American philosopher Eric Hoffer by highlighting salient writing, as well as the independent spirit of small publishers. Since its inception, the Hoffer has become one of the largest international book awards for small, academic, and independent presses.

A grand prize of $5,000 is awarded annually. In addition, Eric Hoffer Book Award honors include various prizes within 18 categories, separate press distinctions, the Montaigne Medal, the da Vinci Eye, First Horizon Award, and the Medal Provocateur.

The 2024 winner in the poetry category was Rebecca Aronson for Anchor, while the first runner up went Rigoberto Gonzalez for To the Boy Who Was Night. Barya’s collection was mentioned among the 12 Honorable Mentions in the poetry category.

The Animals of My Earth School consists of fable-like poems full of the vividly singing, fully alive, non-human communities surrounding us. The book was published by Terrapin Books on April 10, 2023. The poems adopt tenderness, and innocence while apprehending the creatures of the world and the world itself.

Mildred Kiconco Barya is a writer and poet from Uganda. She was awarded the 2008 Pan African Literary Forum Prize for Africana Fiction, and earlier gained recognition for her poetry, particularly her first two collections, Men Love Chocolates But They Don’t Say and The Price of Memory: After the Tsunami.

Congrats to Barya!