For the first time, three poets have been jointly awarded the prestigious Brunel International African Poetry Prize.
After whittling down over 1000 entries, judges were unable to choose between the three most stand-out poets – Hiwot Adilow from Ethiopia, Theresa Lola from Nigeria, and Momtaza Mehri from Somalia. (Click on the links to read the poems).
The winners of the annual prize, which challenges African poets worldwide to submit a pamphlet of 10 poems, will receive £1000 each in prize money, and have their work published in the New Generation African Poets series of books by the African Poetry Book Fund.
Judged by a panel of academics and writers, the Brunel International African Poetry prize was launched in 2012 to help revitalise African poetry. Previous winners of the prize have gone on to publish complete works of their poetry.
“Winning the Brunel International African Poetry Prize feels surreal, it is an unwavering highlight,” said Theresa Lola, who was first inspired to start writing poetry after a trip to the Lagos Poetry Festival when she was 12.
“To win the Brunel International African Poetry Prize feels like I am doing my job and responsibility as a poet and human in putting Africa forward where it rightly belongs.”
Fellow winner Momtaza Mehri, who was awarded the Young People’s Laureate of London earlier in 2018, said: “I am overjoyed and overwhelmed to win an award that is changing the landscape of African Poetry. To have won alongside poets I admire and learn from is the proverbial icing on the cake.
“This prize will hopefully entrench me deeper into the wider community of African poets both in the continent and those in diaspora. That is a community I wish to continue speaking to and with.”
Dr Bernadine Evaristo, Professor of Creative Writing at Brunel University London, and founder of the Brunel International African Poetry prize, said: ‘To be one of three winners of this prize, out of 1000 entries, is an amazing achievement.
“I’d like to congratulate the winners for rising to the top and wish them well with their future careers as poets.”
For further information go HERE