Egyptian Poet Nour Kamel on Brunel International African Poetry Prize’s 2018 Shortlist

Yesterday, the Brunel International African Poetry Prize — in partnership with the African Poetry book Fund — announced the shortlist for its sixth annual prize

Among the eight shortlistees for this prize — open to all African poets worldwide who have not yet published a full-length poetry collection — is Cairo-based poet Nour Kamel.

Kamel also works as a journalist and editor and writes “about identity, language, sexuality, queerness, gender, oppression, femininity, trauma, family, lineage, globalisation, loss and food.”

Prize organizers posted several works by each shortlisted author, including “Woman Looking for the Disappeared Disappears on Way to Conference on Disappearances,” which opens:

look, people just go missing here
what could be more female than that
to go missing with no one to claim you
were ever there

to speak a woman’s existence
demands her existence
does she exist if

there is no blood
no virginity tests
no orbital wounds
ashed over

what can be more violent than never knowing
in which way the bodies were taken
does she exist if all that’s left

In the release, prize founder Bernardine Evaristo noted, ” We are also attracting more North African entries and for the second year a North African poet is shortlisted.”

The other seven shortlistees are: Gbenga Adeoba (Nigeria); Hiwot Adilow (Ethiopia); Michelle Angwenyi (Kenya); Dalia Elhassan (Sudan); Theresa Lola (Nigeria); Momtaza Mehri (Somalia); Cheswayo Mphanza (Zambia)

The prize, which carries a £3000 award, is “aimed at the development, celebration and promotion of poetry from Africa.” Previous winners include Sudanese poet Safia Elhillo, the 2015 co-laureate.