Poets and Translators: Submit Now for Brunel University African Poetry Prize

Submissions for the Brunel University African Poetry Prize opened October 1. Submissions — from African poets who have not yet published a book-length work, and/or their translators – will be accepted until Nov. 30:

The prize, founded by British-Nigerian writer Bernardine Evaristo, is open to emerging African poets, which is defined as “those who were born in Africa, or who are nationals of an African country, or whose parents are African” who have “not yet had a full-length poetry book published. Self-published poetry books, chapbooks and pamphlets are exempt from this stipulation.”

The prize, which launched in the fall of 2012, awards one winner  £3000 — although in the case of a translated winner, the prize would be split between author and translator.

The inaugural (2013) prize went to Warsan Shire, with the 2014 award going to Ethiopian poet Liyou Mesfin Libsekal. The 2014 prize’s two runner-ups were Angolan poet Amy Lukau and Ugandan Nick Makoha.

The 2015 judges include Evaristo, Kwame Dawes, Gabeba Baderoon, Malika Booker, and the prize’s first laureate, Warsan Shire. At the prize’s launch, Evaristo said:

I have judged several prizes in the past few years, including chairing the Caine Prize for African Fiction in 2012, an award that has revitalised the fortunes of fiction from Africa since its inception in 1999. It became clear to me that poetry from the continent could also do with a prize to draw attention to it and to encourage a new generation of poets who might one day become an international presence. African poets are rarely published in Britain. I hope this prize will introduce exciting new poets to Britain’s poetry editors.

And not just the UK: Shortlisted poems have published both in the UK magazine Wasafiri and in the US-based Prairie Schooner. According to prize organizers, “Similar arrangements will be pursued with other major literary journals in the United Kingdom and the US.”

Each entrant must submit 10 poems to be eligible. While the poems may not have been collected into a book-length work, they may have been previously published or won previous awards. Translations from Arabic(s) and Tamazight(s) are particularly encouraged, at least by me.

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