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Inaugural Evaristo Prize for African Poetry Announces 2023 Shortlist

Inaugural Evaristo Prize for African Poetry Announces 2023 Shortlist

African Poetry Book Fund

The Evaristo Prize for African Poetry, formerly known as the Brunel International African Poetry Prize, will award the overall winner a cash prize of $1,500.

By Hope Ibiale

The African Poetry Book Fund has announced the 2023 shortlist of the inaugural Evaristo Prize for African Poetry, with six poets from 3 African countries. The poetry prize, formerly known as the Brunel International African Poetry Prize, will award the overall winner a cash prize of $1,500. The winner will be announced in May 2023.

The shortlisted poets include:

“Drown or Drought” – Claudia Owusu (Ghana/USA)

“Congo, Seen from the Heavens” – Gracia Mwamba (Congo/USA)

“Post Massacre Psych Evaluation” – Abu Bakr Sadiq (Nigeria)

“Francis before Me” – Sarpong Osei Asamoah (Ghana)

“He Reads a Cancer Booklet” – Feranmi Ariyo (Nigeria)

“The Ghost of SX Mphil” – Kanyinsola Olorunnisola (Nigeria)

African Poetry Book Fund Evaristo Prize for African Poetry

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While speaking about the shortlist, the judging panel said, “Showing an impressive range and scale, the manuscripts encompassed both rich verse narratives and tautly minimalist lines, homages to other poets, and adept formal experimentation. It has been pleasurable and illuminating to read them.”

(Read also: Ivorian Writer, Gauz, Shortlisted for 2023 International Booker Prize)

The Evaristo Prize for African Poetry, was established first as the Brunel International African Poetry Prize (BIAPP) in 2012 by British writer, Bernardine Evaristo. The Evaristo Prize for African Poetry is now administered by the African Poetry Book Fund.

Since its founding, the Brunel Prize has become the definitive poetry prize in the continent, championing some of the most important poets writing today, from Warsan Shire and Safia Elhillo to Gbenga Adesina and Romeo Oriogun. Most of the poets who have been nominated or won the Brunel Prize have published chapbooks with the African Poetry Book Fund series called the New Generation Chapbook Box Sets, a longtime partner of the prize.

Gabeba Baderoon (Chair), Tjawangwa Dema, and Tsitsi Jaji are judges of this year’s edition of the poetry prize.

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