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Bernardine Evaristo Initiates the Brunel University African Poetry Prize

Aimed at unpublished poets with a manuscript of ten poems, (including previously published ones) the Brunel University African Poetry Prize offers a prize purse of £3000. Spearheaded by Bernardine Evaristo, who chaired this year’s Caine Prize for African Fiction, its panel of judges include award-winning Ghanaian-born poet Kwame Dawes and the Malawian academic Mpalive Msiska.

The competition aims to encourage up and coming poets on the continent and is sponsored by Brunel University, in partnership with Commonwealth Writers, the Africa Centre UK, and the African Poetry Book Fund. The prize will open for entries on 1 September 2012 to 30 November 2012. The winner will be announced at the end of April 2013.

From the press release:

The Brunel University African Poetry Prize is a major new poetry prize of £3000 aimed at the development, celebration and promotion of poetry from Africa. The prize is sponsored by Brunel University and partnered by Commonwealth Writers, the Africa Centre UK, and the African Poetry Book Fund USA.

British-Nigerian writer, Bernardine Evaristo, who has initiated the prize, describes her reasons for a new prize exclusively devoted to African poetry:

‘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. I am particularly interested in new voices who are exploring poetry that perhaps draws on the poets’ own cultural aesthetics – doing something original, something different. African poets are rarely published in Britain. I hope this prize will introduce exciting new poets to Britain’s poetry editors.’

Photo courtesy of The Wall Street Journal


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