New ‘African Poetry Prize’ Opens in September

Inspired by her involvement with literary prizes — including the all-Africa Caine Prize —  British-Nigerian writer Bernardine Evaristo has announced the launch of a new prize devoted to African poetry:

The APBF is one of the prize’s sponsors.

The new Brunel University African Poetry Prize is not as lucrative as the Caine, which awards a short story annually £10,000 and also sponsors short-story workshops and an anthology. But the poetry prize is getting a solid start: It will award one winner  £3000, and Prairie Schooner (in the US) and Wasafiri (in the UK) have committed publishing “some of the work of the winning poets.”

The prize is, like the Caine, broadly “open to poets who were born in Africa, or who are nationals of an African country, or whose parents are African.” (North Africans, that includes you.) In order to encourage serious emerging poets, it is open to “exactly” ten poems. These poems may have been previously published; however, the poet must not have released a full-length collection.

As with the Caine, submissions must arrive in English, however: ” Translated poetry is accepted but a percentage of the prize will be awarded to the translator.”

The panel of judges, which is set to include the poet Kwame Dawes, will be announced this autumn, according to Evaristo. That’s after the prize opens up to submissions — it opens the 1st of September and closes November 30 of this year.

The winner is scheduled to be announced by the end of April, 2013, and Evaristo wrote in an email that she wasn’t sure if there would be a longlist or shortlist announced previous to the winner. “Probably not.”

This announcement was made not long after the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets was opened. The rules are much the same for the Sillerman; however, that prize requires an entry fee of $20.

For the complete African Poetry Prize rules, see the prize website.