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 teaches creative writing at Brunel University and initiated the prize in 2012, 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. African poets are rarely published in Britain. I hope this prize will introduce exciting new poets to Britain’s poetry editors.’
Prairie Schooner, one of the leading literary magazines in the USA, having published continuously for eighty-five years, has committed to publishing some of the work of the winning poets of the Brunel University African Poetry Prize. Wasafiri, the leading British journal of international writing, will also publish the winner. Similar arrangements will be pursued with other major literary journals in the United Kingdom and the US.
The prize is open to poets who were born in Africa, or who are nationals of an African country, or whose parents are African.
In collaboration with the African Poetry Book Fund, the Brunel University African Poetry Prize will develop a series poetry workshops and courses in Africa in its efforts to provide technical support for poets writing in Africa.
For more updates and additional information stay tuned to this website or contact Bernardine Evaristo at Bernardine.Evaristo@brunel.ac.uk. Additional information about the Brunel University African Poetry Prize will be available at the website of the African Poetry Book Fund, africanpoetrybf.unl.edu/.
The African Poetry Book Fund
Bernardine Evaristo and the Ghanaian-Jamaican writer, editor and academic, Kwame Dawes, first worked together in 1995. When they discovered two months ago that they were both launching African poetry prizes, they decided to combine their efforts and resources. Kwame Dawes has just set up the African Poetry Book Fund, established at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The Fund will incorporate the establishment of the new African Poetry Book Series, to be published by the University of Nebraska Press and Amalion Press in Senegal, and the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets. The fund will also incorporate the Brunel University African Poetry Prize.
Brunel University is a public research university located in London, winner of the Queen’s Anniversary Prize in 2011 for Higher and Further Education. The university has seen phenomenal rises in the recent university ranking guides. In the first Times Higher Education guide to the top 100 universities founded in the last 50 years, Brunel is placed 1st in London, 6th in the UK, and 35th internationally. English and Creative Writing have been ranked in the top quartile of the Guardian University Guide 2013. www.brunel.ac.uk
Commonwealth Writers is an initiative from the Commonwealth Foundation which builds the sustainable capacity of organisations and individuals to influence society through communication for development initiatives, partnerships and prizes. It inspires and enables people, through dialogue, to engage in the decision making processes which affect their lives. By creating spaces, both virtual and physical, for the free expression and exchange of ideas we help people to share stories, access opportunities and develop their craft across a range of formats and mediums. www.commonwealthwriters.org/