Abu Bakr Sadiq joins the list of Sillerman First Book Prize winners as the eleventh poet to receive the annual accolade.
By Helena Olori
Nigerian poet, Abu Bakr Sadiq, has been announced as the winner of the 2023 Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets, with his poetry collection, Leaked Footages, edging out the three other finalists.
Sharing the news via a post on X, The African Poetry Book Fund, wrote, “Congratulations to Abu Bakr Sadiq @bakronline, the 11th winner of the Sillerman Prize! His book, Leaked Footages will be published by the @UnivNebPress in 2024!”
Unanimously selected by the judges – which comprised of renowned literary figures, including Chris Abani, Gabeba Baderoon, Bernadine Evaristo, Aracelis Girmay, John Keene, Matthew Shenoda, Phillippa Yaa de Villiers, and Kwame Dawes – Sadiq’s manuscript was praised for its “Afrofuturist, speculative approach, conveyed by a Nigerian Muslim speaker,” offering readers a refreshing, yet distinctive, compelling perspective.
The judging panel also named the manuscripts Tresspass by Jamila Osman from Somalia; Year of Blood by Adedayo Agarau from Nigeria; and Our Weary Talons by Gracia Mwamba from Congo; as the finalists for this year’s contest.
As the winner of the Sillerman Prize, Sadiq will be awarded a cash prize of $1000 and will have his work published as part of the esteemed African Poetry Book Series by the University of Nebraska Press, as is customary with the winners.
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Sadiq is an emerging poet from Minna, Nigeria, and is currently an undergraduate student at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. He has already garnered recognition for his poetic talents, winning the 2022 IGNYTE award for Best Speculative Poetry and being named a finalist for the 2023 Evaristo Prize for African Poetry. His poems have been nominated for prestigious awards such as the 2022 SFPA Rhysling Award and the Pushcart Prize. His works have also graced the pages of notable publications like Boston Review, Uncanny Magazine, and Fantasy Magazine, among others. The 2023 Sillerman Prize award will, undoubtedly, propel his career as a poet, and push forth his talent to a broader audience.
The Sillerman Prize, administered and awarded annually by The African Poetry Book Fund, was founded in 2013 and has since become a platform for aspiring poets seeking to make their mark in the literary world. The collaboration with the University of Nebraska Press has also given emerging African poets, from the continent and the African diaspora, an opportunity to be heard and celebrated.
Submission of manuscripts for the 2024 Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets will begin from September 15 to December 1. Only previously unpublished full-length collections from African poets are accepted. For more details about the prize, see here.