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African Poetry to Receive International Recognition

The $3,000 Brunel University African Poetry Prize is awarded to an African poet for a selection of poems. The prize which is now in its second year and is sponsored by Brunel University and partnered by Commonwealth Writers is aimed at the development, celebration and promotion of poems from Africa.

The Brunel University African Poetry Prize is open to anyone who was born in Africa, is a national of an African country or whose parents are African. Exactly ten poems must be submitted in order to be eligible for this prize.

Bernardine Evaristo, award-winning British-Nigerian writer, initiated the prize in 2012. Bernardine teaches creative writing at Brunel University, is the author of the critically acclaimed Mr. Loverman (Penguin, 2013) and a 2013 judge for the Golden Baobab Prizes for African children’s literature. On the importance of a prize exclusively or African poetry, Bernardine explains,

“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.”

Apart from the $3,000 cash prize, winners of the Brunel University African Poetry Prize will have some of their poems published by Prairie Schooner, one of the leading literary magazines in the USA and Wasafiri, the leading British journal of international writing. The first winner of the prize was Somali poet, Warsan Shire, who describes the impact of the prize on her writing career:

“Since winning the prize I have travelled to six different countries to teach poetry and read my work; I’ve had interest from different literary agents and publishing houses; and I was appointed the first Young Poet Laureate for London, definitely sure that the last one wouldn’t have happened had I not won the prize. I have a chapbook due out in America and small collections of my poems translated and published in Estonian and Danish.”

The prize is currently open for entries and will close on November 30th. The winner will be announced on 28th April, 2014.
For more information on the Brunel University African Poetry Prize, visit their website: http://www.africanpoetryprize.org/.

Golden Baobab Prizes announce 2013 Judges

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Now in its 5th year, the Golden Baobab Prizes for African children’s literature were established in July 2008 to inspire the creation of enthralling African children’s stories by gifted African writers. The prizes invite entries of unpublished stories written by African citizens irrespective of age, race, or country of origin.

Formerly known as the Baobab Prize, the Golden Baobab Prizes are the most prestigious annual awards for stories written by Africans for African children. The evaluation process of the prizes is two-tiered: the reading session and the judging session. The longlist was announced after the reading session. The judging session begins on 1st October 2013. The 2013 judges for the Golden Baobab Prizes are:

Esi Sutherland-Addy Educator
Bernardine Evaristo Author
Osayimwense Osa Author, Editor and Professor
Nonikiwe Mashologu Children’s literature reviewer
Zetta Elliott Author and Educator
Ahmed Farah Winner of the 2010 Golden Baobab Rising Writer Prize

Nonikiwe Mashologu, Chairperson of International Board on Books for young People South Africa branch (IBBY SA) says, “I have been involved with the Golden Baobab Prizes for about 3 years as a reader and so I am aware of the absolutely wonderful work being done. I am honored to be a judge for this year’s award because I am always so happy to add and contribute to literature for African children.”

The judges will use three weeks in October to read the longlisted and the final week in October to decide on the winners for each prize: The Golden Baobab Prize for Picture Books, The Golden Baobab Prizes for Early Chapter Books and the Golden Baobab Prize for Rising Writers.
The winners of the Golden Baobab Prizes will be announced on 13 November 2013 and will receive $1,000 (USD), the opportunity to publish with and receive royalties from Golden Baobab top tier African and international publishers, the benefit of increased publicity that comes with being named a Golden Baobab winner, and opportunities to attend exclusive Golden Baobab workshops. In addition to the above, the winner of the Golden Baobab Prize for Rising Writers will serve on the prestigious panel of judges for the 2014 Golden Baobab Prizes, bringing a critical young perspective to the evaluation process.

Nanama B. Acheampong, the coordinator of the prizes stated, “We’re really excited to see the prize become bigger and better each year. We’re looking to form meaningful partnerships with corporations that share in our vision of a world overflowing with African children’s books and are willing to help make it happen.”

Last year’s judges were CNN hero, Yohannes Gebregeorgis, professor and author, Vivian Yenika-Agbaw, publishing expert, Carol Broomhall, award-winning author, Atinuke Akinyemi Sears, doctor and award-winning author, Kopano Matlwa and accomplished librarian, Tanja Galetti.

ABOUT THE GOLDEN BAOBAB PRIZES

The Golden Baobab Prizes for literature was established in July 2008 to inspire the creation of enthralling African children’s stories by gifted African writers. The Prizes invite entries of unpublished stories written by African citizens irrespective of age, race, or country of origin. The Prizes are organized by Golden Baobab, a Ghana-based pan African social enterprise dedicated to supporting African writers and illustrators to create winning African children’s books. The organization’s Advisory Board includes renowned authors Ama Ata Aidoo, Patrice Nganang, Jay Heale and Maya Ajmera. Golden Baobab is proudly supported by Echoing Green, Reach for Change, The Global Fund for Children and The African Library Project.

For further information, photos or to arrange interviews, please contact: Nanama B. Acheampong via info@goldenbaobab.org
Tel: +233302 265215
Website: http://www.goldenbaobab.org

Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa, Fifth Edition Call for Entries

The organisers of the fifth edition of Wole Soyinka Prize For Literature In Africa have called for entries for the 2014 edition of the Literature Award.

The Chairman of The Lumina Foundation and award’s Board of Trustees, Mrs. Francesca Yetunde Emanuel, said this at a press briefing in Lagos over the weekend.

“On behalf of the board of the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa, I hereby announce the commencement of the preparation for the 5th edition of the prize, which will take place here in Nigeria on Saturday July 5, 2014 and also call for entries. Any published play or collection of plays by the same author of African descent, published within the two years preceding the year of the Prize (that is a play published between 2012 and 2013) is eligible for the 2014 WS Prize,” Emanuel said.

“The 2014 edition will be the 5th edition of the award and will be coinciding with the 80th birthday of Prof. Wole Soyinka, whom the prize is named after.”

However, based on the judges’ recommendation, the Board of Trustees has approved that starting with the fifth edition, each edition should assess only one of the genres (Prose, poetry, Drama and Essays) unlike in the past that had entries in all genres.

The founding chairman of the Lumina Foundation and a member of the board, Dr. Yemi Ogunbiyi, said the growth of the WS Prize is not only in quality, but also in scope and scale as it has continued to attract interest from many African countries as the years pass by.

“Four awards of the prize have been made in the previous editions with Nigeria winning in the first and second editions, and tying with South Africa in the third while a South African took home the fourth prize,” Ogunbiyi said.

The Judges of the Prize are intellectuals and critics taken from five African countries: Cote D Ivoire, South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria and South Sudan. The overall winner of the award goes home with the sum of 20,000 US dollars.

Source: Nigerian Telegraph (via Save Our Treasures)