“PRESS RELEASE – WINNERS 2016
The joint winners of the 2016 Brunel University African Poetry Prize are Gbenga Adesina (Nigeria) and Chekwube O. Danladi (Nigeria).
Gbenga Adesina lives and writes in Nigeria. His poetry, essays and reviews have been featured or are forthcoming in Harriet’s Blog for the Poetry Foundation and in Jalada, Premium Times, Brittle Paper, Africanwriter.com, One Throne, Vinyl, Prairie Schooner and Soar Africa.
In 2015, he was an Open Society Foundation Resident Poet on Goree Island, off the coast of Senegal. His first chapbook, Painter of Water, will be published by APBF in the spring of 2016. Follow him @Gbadenaija. The judges said: ‘Adesina’s poems are powerfully political, beautiful and truly searing. This is a poet with a compelling voice addressing concerns of injustice, memory, migration and family.’
Chekwube O. Danladi
Chekwube O. Danladi was born in Lagos, Nigeria and raised there, as well as in Washington DC and West Baltimore. A Callaloo Fellow, her writing prioritizes themes of teleological displacement, navigations and interrogations of gender and sexuality, and the necessary resilience of African and Afro-diasporic communities.
She is currently working towards an MFA in Fiction at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. The judges said: ‘Danladi’s poems are glorious, risky, ambitious and fresh. There is a powerful sense of social justice and serious engagement with contemporary and historical African concerns.’”
These winners emerged from a shortlist of ten and this includes the Somali-British poet; past winner, Warsan Shire, whose poetry was recently featured in a music video by the renowned artiste, Beyoncé.
This is the fourth year of The Brunel University African Poetry Prize, a major poetry prize of £3000 aimed at the development, celebration and promotion of poetry from Africa. The prize is sponsored by Brunel University London and Commonwealth Writers. It is open to African poets worldwide who have not yet published a full poetry collection. Each poet has to submit 10 poems to be eligible.
The judges this year are the poets, critics and academics: Dr Kwame Dawes (University of Nebraska), Dr Tsitsi Jaji (University of Pennsylvania), Dr John Keene (Rutgers University), Dr Helen Yitah (University of Ghana), and Chair and founder, Dr Bernardine Evaristo, Professor of Creative Writing at Brunel University London. Out of a record-breaking 900 entries, the judges came up with a shortlist of ten poets.
The ten shortlisted poets were: Gbenga Adesina (Nigeria); Victoria-Anne Bulley (Ghana); Mary-Alice Daniel (Nigeria); Chekwube O. Danladi (Nigeria); Amy Lukau (Angola); Ngwatilo Mawiyoo (Kenya); Momtaza Mehri(Eritrea/Somalia); Saradha Soobrayen (Mauritius); Warsan Shire (Somalia) and Chimwemwe Undi (Zambia/Zimbabwe/Namibia)
2013 Warsan Shire (Somalia)
2014 Liyou Libsekal (Ethiopia)
2015 Safia Elhillo (Sudan) & Nick Makoha (Uganda)
The Prize works closely with the African Poetry Book Fund (APBF) at the University of Nebraska. The winners and most of the shortlisted poets of the past three years have had poetry pamphlets published with APBF in their ‘New Generation African Poets’ series of box sets, in partnership with the publishers Slappering Hol Press and Akashic Books in the USA.
The poets are available for interview and can be contacted via Bernardine.Evaristo@brunel.ac.uk
Congratulations to all the shortlisted poets and the joint winners!