Posts Tagged ‘Kwame Dawes’

Thank you all who keep reading this blog. To reward you, as much as I can, I will continue to inform of African Poetry Prize announcements as I receive news so we can all stay winning. The Glenna Luschei African Poetry Prize is another product of the African Poetry Book Fund and Prairie Schooner. If you’ve read this blog long enough, you will know APBF and Prairie Schooner from my brief post on my first meeting with Prof. Kwame Dawes, the Brunel University African Poetry Prize Announcements and the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poetry. Get with your publisher and apply for this one. The deadline has been extended from July to October. Get more info on this announcement page. All the best :)

Glenna Luschei African Poetry Prize Guidelines

The Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry, under the auspices of the African Poetry Book Fund and in partnership with the literary journal, Prairie Schooner, is an annual award of USD $5,000. Named for the literary philanthropist Glenna Luschei, this Pan African Poetry Prize is the only one of its kind in the world and was established to promote African poetry written in English or in translation and to recognize a significant book published each year by an African poet.

Each year, the prize is judged by an internationally renowned poet. This judge for the inaugural prize is Nigerian poet and novelist Chris Abani.

• Books must be submitted in the year after their publication, which means that books published in 2013 must be submitted for consideration between May 1 and October 1, 2014.
• The 2014 contest is open to any book of original poetry, in English, published during 2013 in a standard edition by a full-length collection of poetry written by any African national, African resident, or poet of African parentage with roots from any country, living anywhere in the world. A standard edition is 48 pages or more in length.
• Books of translation are welcome and eligible for consideration for the prize.
• Self-published books are not eligible.
• Publishers may submit as many titles as they wish. The publisher should send four copies of each book to the Academy, postmarked between May 1 and October 1, 2014.
• There is no entry fee but an entry form is required for each title submitted. The winner will be announced in December.
• The African Poetry Book Fund will award the winning poet $5,000.
• Books published by the African Poetry Book Fund will not be eligible for consideration.
• Uncorrected galleys and PDF galleys of books will be considered as long as the publication date falls within the period of eligibility.

Please send four copies of each entry to the following address, postmarked between May 1 and October 1, 2014:

The Glenna Luschei Poetry Prize
The African Poetry Book Fund
Prairie Schooner
123 Andrews Hall
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Lincoln, NE 68588-0334

Books will not be returned.

For more information, please contact:
Ashley Strosnider
Managing Editor
African Poetry Book Fund
africanpoetrybf@unl.edu
402-472-0911

Ladan Osman

Ladan Osman

Just in: Somali Poet Ladan Osman has won this year’s Sillerman First Book Prize for African poetry with her collection, The Kitchen Dweller’s Testimony. This follows from last year’s inaugural win by Kenyan Clifton Gachagua for his Madman at Kilifi.

Readers of this blog will not be strangers to my love for Somali literature and this win by another Somali following Warsan Shire’s Brunel African poetry prize win last year, goes to remove all doubt about the art of that country in the east. I’m elated there is a new Somali poet whose works I will be looking forward to and reading through the year. Read my post Celebrating Somalia (yes, Celebrating!) and the poem I Think About you, Mogadishu.

Press release: Courtesy African Poetry Book Fund and BooksLive

Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets, The African Poetry Book Fund and Prairie Schooner are pleased to announce that Ladan Osman’s collection, The Kitchen Dweller’s Testimony, is the winner of the 2014 Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets. Osman will receive a $1000 cash award and publication of her book with the University of Nebraska Press and Amalion Press in Senegal.

“I deeply appreciate this prize,” Osman said after learning of the board’s decision. “I have so badly just wanted a chance to work, to be apparent to people in life and in poems. A bunch of things happened in the years spent writing this book: I’m excited to share what came out of those sometimes rough waters, and look forward to connecting to new readers and new communities.”

The African Poetry Book Fund publishes four new titles each year, including the winner of the Sillerman prize and one new volume by a major African poet.

African Poetry Book Fund Series Editor and Prairie Schooner Editor-in-Chief Kwame Dawes praised The Kitchen Dweller’s Testimony, saying that “only the genius of sincerity of voice and imagination can allow a poet to contain in a single poem both consuming gravitas and delightful whimsy. This is what we get again and again from the splendidly gifted poet Ladan Osman. The editorial team of the African Poetry Book Fund was unanimous in selecting her manuscript as winner of this year’s Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets.”

Osman, whose parents are from the city of Mogadishu in Somalia, has received fellowships from the Luminarts Cultural Foundation, the Fine Arts Work Center, Cave Canem, and the Michener Center for Writers. Her work has appeared in American Life in Poetry, Artful Dodge, Narrative Magazine, Prairie Schooner, RHINO, and Vinyl Poetry. Her chapbook, Ordinary Heaven, will appear in Seven New Generation African Poets: A Chapbook Box Set (Slapering Hol Press, 2014). She teaches in Chicago.

Last year’s winner was Kenyan poet Clifton Gachagua, whose collection, Madman at Kilifi, will be published in February 2014.

The Sillerman First Book Prize is named after philanthropists Laura and Robert F. X. Sillerman, whose contributions have endowed the establishment of the African Poetry Book Fund & Series. The Sillerman prize is awarded to African writers who have not published a book-length poetry collection. An “African writer” is taken to mean someone who was born in Africa, is a citizen or resident of an African country, or whose parents are African.

The Fund and its partners also support seminars, workshops, and other publishing opportunities for African poets, as well as the African Poetry Libraries Project. As a partner of the African Poetry Book Fund & Series, Prairie Schooner manages the Sillerman prize. In addition to Series Editor Dawes, the African First Book Fund editorial board is comprised of Chris Abani, Matthew Shenoda, Gabeba Baderoon, John Keene, and Bernardine Evaristo.

Information about the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets is available on the African Poetry Book Fund website, http://africanpoetrybf.unl.edu. You can also find more about Prairie Schooner at http://prairieschooner.unl.edu or on Twitter (@TheSchooner).

Praire Schooner Celebrates African Poetry
Thursday, February 27, 2014
[Time] 7:00pm until 8:15pm in PST
APBF will also host an Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) panel, “New Generation African Women Poets,” on February 28 from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. in Room 400 of the WA State Convention Center, Level 4, and a celebratory reception on February 27 from 7 to 8:15 p.m. in the Juniper Room at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel. The reception is open to the public. Join Prairie Schooner (@TheSchooner) in the Juniper Room of the Sheraton Seattle Hotel for a reception to celebrate Prairie Schooner growing its international reach through its partnership with the African Poetry Book Fund. This event is a celebration of contemporary African poetry, is free and open to the public, and there will be complimentary food and drink. Please invite friends!

Writers’ Project hosts Nigerian writer Chuma Nwokolo for a Reading
The Writers Project of Ghana (@writersPG) proudly presents a public reading with Nigerian writer, attorney and publisher, Chuma Nwokolo (@chumanwokolo). Chuma is a fantastic writer. Writers’ Project book discussion club last year read his collection Diaries of a Dead African.
This reading offers the opportunity to meet and interact with Chuma Nwokolo. There will be a short discussion session after the reading.
Date: Wednesday, 19th February, 2014.
Time 7:00pm – 8:30pm.
Location: International House, University of Ghana, Legon.
Admission is free.


Kofi Awoonor’s Next Book Publishes Posthumously: The Promise of Hope: New and selected poems

Prior to his death in the Kenya Westgate Mall attack, Kofi Awoonor was due to release this book titled “Promise of Hope: New and Selected Poems.” It is to be the lead book of the new African Poetry Book Series to appear this year. Foreworded by Kwame Dawes (@kwamedawes) and set to be published in March by University of Nebraska Press, the book was part of reasons Awoonor was at the Storymoja Hay Festival in Kenya in order to push some advance publicity for the book. Look out for the release of this last anthology we will read from Awoonor, summing up fifty years of his activist, political and traditional life as a poet. Introduction and editing by Kofi Anyidoho.

Commonwealth Writers’ Non-fiction Workshop, Uganda 9-13 June 2014
Commonwealth Writers invites East African writers aged 18 and over to apply for the 10 places in the workshop. Writers from Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, living and working in East Africa, are eligible to apply. There will be two places allocated per country. This is a residential workshop. All travel (from elsewhere in East Africa), accommodation and meals will be provided for successful applicants. There is no fee to attend the workshop. To be considered, please apply to writers@commonwealth.int by Friday 28 February. Led by the Chair of the 2014 Commonwealth Short Story Prize and former deputy editor of Granta, Ellah Allfrey (@epwa66), the workshop will explore different ways to approach creative non-fiction. Detailed application requirements on their site here.

Creative Writing Masterclass with Yewande Omotoso in Accra on March 8th.

From Kinna Reads: Yewande Omotoso will teach a creative writing master class in Accra, on Saturday March 8th 2014.  Ama Ata Aidoo will also be there as a resource person and special guest.The master class is organized by the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) and Mbaasem Foundation. The class is free. Women writers interested in attending the class should send a short bio and a sample story or article to info@mbaasem.net by Friday February 21st.  Successful applicants will be notified by February 28th. The master class will focus on the craft of writing and will also address writers’ issues with their ongoing works-in-progress. Yewande Omotoso is a writer and her debut novel, Bom Boy has been shortlisted for the 2014 Etisalat Prize.  Find more on Omotoso from AWDF.

I had one good day yesterday. Prof. Kwame Dawes, a Ghanaian-Jamaican poet who was with Kofi Awoonor at Storymoja Hay festival where Awoonor was killed, passed through Ghana for the funeral. Afterwards, he asked to meet the literati in Accra to confer on this and that. It was a good gathering attended by bright lights like Ama Ata Aidoo (@AmaAtaAidoo), Nii Ayikwei Parkes (@BlueBirdTail), Esi Sutherland, Kwame Dawes (@kwamedawes) himself and the creme of the Department of English of the University of Ghana.

Kofi Awoonor (L) and Kwame Dawes (R), at Storymoja Hay Festival on the eve of Awoonor's death

Kofi Awoonor (L) and Kwame Dawes (R), at Storymoja Hay Festival on the eve of Awoonor’s death

Picture credit: Msingi Sasi

I felt privileged to be in the company of such great advocates and proponents for the African literary voice and the hour and half felt like very good investment for the 73km I had journeyed to get to the venue. Prof. Dawes was making his point for the African Poetry Book Fund, the Sillerman Prize and other possible activities that could be put together to push African literature through the university system and partnerships with the Univeristy of Nebraska. It was refreshing.

There were mentions of Awoonor, who had been the reason why this meeting had been at all possible and I was elated that when I got up to speak and introduced myself, Ama Ata Aidoo recognized my name. She later mentioned how Kinna had read to her my previous post in tribute to Awoonor. There was suppressed laughter after the event, masking our general elation for being able to keep the conversation on African literature going, while also having to privately mourn, as a community of literature lovers, one of the best poets of African extraction. I joked with Prof Dawes at how he and the judging panel of the Brunel poetry prize could not see the brilliance of the entries I submitted. Warsan Shire totally deserved that award, let it be said.

Today, I publish this poem which has taken me all of three days to write; not because it is difficult, but because I have had to gather myself since the last post, to come to terms with Awoonor’s passing. Yesterday’s event at the Department of English broke me through. I title it;

Word On The Street

Why do we kneel here,

Here, windswept paths of a day gone by

Contorted ways begging forgetfulness

 Of the feet that strayed this way just yesterday.

Why do we kneel here?

We can make here no penance or sacrifice.

The lamb has already been carried home

The shearers and feasters pick dry teeth

Our teeth and all their teeth set on edge.

While tears lick our faces dry.

Why do we kneel here?

Asking what if and what not if and why not

Why do we kneel here, why do we clutch this place here,

This ground, this senseless ephemeral patch

Ready to disappear into the dirges of our dreams?

 This dirty patch aborted of its tree

Why do we come in response of sorrow that summons us

Our lips, ready to weep but silent

Afraid to offend him.

Why do we kneel here?

This here lies his body

We have seen it for ourselves

And our knees fail to prop us

We kneel here

This here is Awoonor!

This is no more word on the street.