Prizes & Awards

2021 Brunel International African Poetry Prize announces Othuke Umukoro winner

Nigerian poet, playwright & educator, Othuke Umukoro, has emerged winner of the Brunel International African Poetry Prize 2021, a major prize aimed at the development, celebration and promotion of poetry from Africa worth £3000.

The organisers made the announcement on the prize’s website.

Sponsored by Brunel University London and open to African poets worldwide who have not yet published a full poetry collection, the judges this year were poets: Karen McCarthy Woolf (Chair), Rustum Kozain (South Africa) and Makhosazana Xaba (South Africa). The announcement said the judges were unanimous in their decision and said: ‘The language is lush, mesmeric at times and the balance between lyric and narrative deftly handled. There is a technical competence too. These are unafraid, thoughtful pieces — playful, yet serious, making us look at love, life, mortality afresh. The elegiac A Mountain Cracks Before Translation — mourning the suicide of a brother found hanging — heartbreaking, but never gratuitous in its detail. A complex poet, with the formal skills to match the weight of the subjects he takes on, whether it’s sexuality and the family dynamic, HIV, or nature, ecology and politics.”

Read:  Daniel Orubo, others are finalists for The Nigeria Prize for Difference & Diversity

The shortlisted poets were Kweku Abimbola (Gambia), Arao Ameny (Uganda), Isabelle Baafi (South Africa), Asmaa Jama (Somalia), Tumello Motabola (Lesotho), Oluwadare Popoola (Nigeria), Yomi Sode (Nigeria).

Born in Olomoro, a small town bounded by untamed rivers, in 1990, Othuke spent most of his childhood fishing & learning how to read from his mother. A University of Ibadan graduate, he has taught in an underserved public primary school in a low-income community as a fellow of Teach for Nigeria—a nonprofit organisation devoted to ending educational inequity. His poetry explores the language of quietness, the geography of memory, home, depression, hope, loss & occasionally the ‘other’ that hovers around traditional father-son relationships. He is a Pushcart & 2 x Best of the Net Nominee. His writing has been published in Agbowó, Crooked Arrow Press, Random Sample Review Mineral Lit Mag, The Sunlight Press, Kissing Dynamite Poetry Journal, Sleet Magazine & elsewhere. He tweets @Othuke__Umukoro.

Source: thisislagos

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