Established to promote African poetry written in English or in translation and awarded to a significant book published each year by an African poet.
The Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets will be awarded to an African writer who has not published a book-length poetry collection.
The Brunel University African Poetry Prize will be awarded for a selection of poems by an African poet.

 


The Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets

The African Poetry Book Series is made possible through the generosity of philanthropists Laura and Robert F. X. Sillerman, whose generous contributions have facilitated the establishment of the APBF.  In recognition of their invaluable support of our work, Mr. and Mrs. Sillerman have welcomed the use of their name for the First Book Prize for African Poets.

The Prize

The Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poetry is awarded annually to an African poet who has not yet published a collection of poetry. The winner receives USD $1000 and book publication through the University of Nebraska Press and Amalion Press in Senegal.

The African Poetry Book Fund Editorial Board, including Kwame Dawes, Chris Abani, Matthew Shenoda, John Keene, Gabeba Baderoon, and Bernardine Evaristo, will judge.

A winner will be announced in early January, with notifications sent shortly thereafter.

Eligibility

The Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets will only accept “first book” submissions from African writers who have not published a book-length poetry collection. This includes self-published books if they were sold online, in stores, or at readings. Writers who have edited and published an anthology or a similar collection of other writers’ work remain eligible.

An “African writer” is taken to mean someone who was born in Africa, who is a national or resident of an African country, or whose parents are African.

Only poetry submissions in English can be considered. Work translated from another language to English is accepted, but a percentage of the prize will be awarded to the translator.

No past or present paid employees of the University of Nebraska Press or Amalion Press, or current faculty, students, or employees at the University of Nebraska, are eligible for the prizes.

When to Send

The 2016 Prize is open to submissions! Manuscripts are accepted annually between September 15 and December 1st.

Manuscript

No entry fee is required to submit to the contest.

Poetry manuscripts should be at least 50 pages long.

The author’s name should not appear on the manuscript. All entries will be read anonymously. Please include a cover page listing only the title of the manuscript (not the author’s name, address, telephone number, or email address). An acknowledgements page listing the publication history of individual poems may be included, if desired. No application forms are necessary. Eligible writers may submit more than one manuscript.

While we have no specific formatting rules, we suggest sending your manuscript in Times New Roman or Arial, 12 point font, single-spaced. We also prefer one poem per page, meaning a new poem does not begin on the same page on which another ends.

 

The Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets accepts electronic submissions ONLY. Click here or the button below to submit via Submittable.

submit

To ensure confidentiality and fairness, all submissions to the Sillerman Prize are handled by Prairie Schooner Book Prize Coordinator Katie Henson. Please direct questions to her attention at psbookprize@unl.edu.

2015 Winner

Fuschia by Mahtem Shiferraw (Ethiopia/Eritrea/United States)

The African Poetry Book Fund and Prairie Schooner are pleased to announce that Mahtem Shiferraw’s collection, Fuschia, is the winner of the 2015 Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets.  Shiferraw will receive a $1000 cash award and publication of her book with the University of Nebraska Press and Amalion Press in Senegal. (Details)

2014 Winner

The Kitchen Dweller’s Testimony by Ladan Osman (Somalia/ United States)

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. (Details)

2013 Winner

Madman at Kilifi by Clifton Gachagua (Kenya)

The winner of the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets for 2013 is Clifton Gachagua for his manuscript Madman at Kilifi. He will receive a USD $1,000 prize and publication by the University of Nebraska Press and Amalion Press in Senegal. (Details)

 

Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry

The Glenna Luschei Prize is now open through October 1, 2016.

The Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry is made possible by poet, publisher, editor, businesswoman, and philanthropist, Glenna Luschei, who has also endowed in perpetuity the literary quarterly Prairie Schooner. Her generous contribution makes possible this annual award.  In recognition of their invaluable support of our work, Glenna Luschei has welcomed the use of her name for the Prize for African Poetry.

 

The Prize

The Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry is awarded annually to a book published in the previous calendar year by an African poet. They author receives an award of USD $5,000. This Pan African Poetry Prize, established to promote African poetry written in English or in translation and to recognize a significant book published each year by an African poet, is the only one of its kind in the world.

Each year, a significant African writer judges the contest. Open annually from May to October to submissions from authors and publishers, a winner will be announced in early December.

Eligibility

The Luschei Prize for African Poetry is open to any book of original poetry, in English, published during the previous calendar year in a standard edition of a full-length collection of poetry written by any African writer. Books must be submitted in the year after their publication, which means that books published in 2015 may be submitted for consideration between May 1 and October 1, 2016.

An “African writer” is taken to mean someone who was born in Africa, who is a national or resident of an African country, or whose parents are African.

A standard edition is 48 pages or more in length.

Only poetry submissions in English can be considered, but we welcome published works of translation for consideration.

Self-published books are ineligible.

Books published by the APBF and its African Poetry Series are ineligible.

There is no entry fee but an entry form is required for each title submitted. The winner will be announced in December.

When to Send

Manuscripts are accepted annually between May 1st and October 1st.

Manuscript

No entry fee is required to submit to this contest, but an entry form is required for each title submitted.

pdfDownload the Entry Form.

Publishers may submit as many eligible titles as they wish. The publisher should send four copies of each book to the APBF, postmarked between May 1 and October 1, 2016.

Uncorrected galleys (including 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, 2016:

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

Books will not be returned but may be donated to the African Poetry Libraries Initiative.

Please send any questions to africanpoetrybf@unl.edu.


2015 Winner

Book of Rooms by Kobus Moolman

Book of Rooms

A Book of Rooms, Kobus Moolman’s new collection of poetry, deepens the explorations of his recent books Light and After and Left Over. While their Beckett-like sparseness and doggedness is still there, A Book of Roomsmoves into a realist-biographical narrative form. Arranged in physically dense scenes described as ‘rooms’, it inhabits the childhood and young adulthood of a man with a serious physical disability growing up in a grim family environment in the final years of the white side of apartheid. The reader is compelled immediately into the character’s bleak and constant meetings with pain and failure. Yet inside this present-tense current can be felt a powerful will to live, sharp flashes of humor – and an even more powerful drive to know the truth.


2014 Winner

through the window of a sandcastle by amu nnadi (Nigeria)

PageLines- ScreenShot2015-07-22at4.57.53PM.pngParresia Press, 2013. 978-9783157446

“We come face to face with a truly original voice. [Nnadi] creates new metaphors, new spaces of being, and new cartographies of the African soul. There are traces here of Christopher Okigbo’s striking vision and voice, of Eliot’s sense of epic, of Walcott’s ability to turn quotidian diction into a song of light, and yet a melancholy, a brilliance, a dance that is all original, all amu nnadi.” — Chris Abani, Nigerian poet and novelist, PEN Award and Guggenheim winner