The Evaristo Prize for African Poetry is an annual prize of USD $1,500 awarded to ten poems written by an African poet.
Established first as the Brunel International African Poetry Prize (BIAPP) in 2012 by British writer Bernardine Evaristo, who founded and managed the prize for ten years, the Evaristo Prize was renamed and passed on to be managed by the African Poetry Book Fund in 2022. A close partner of APBF, the BIAPP sought to “encourage a new generation of poets who might one day become an international presence.” Indeed, the excellence of BIAPP winners continues to be celebrated globally as many of the poets have gone to publish chapbooks, full-length poetry collections, and win more prizes. The BIAPP announced their final winner in May 2022.
President of the UK’s Royal Society of Literature and a celebrated writer, Bernardine Evaristo is an APBF Editorial Board Member; Professor of Creative Writing at Brunel University London; and the author of ten books of fiction, poetry, essays, drama, criticism, and journalism.
The inaugural Evaristo African Poetry Prize will begin accepting submissions in October 2022.
The Prize is open to African writers. 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.
The prize is open to African poets who have not yet had a full-length poetry book published at the time of submission. Self-published poetry books, chapbooks, and pamphlets are exempt from this stipulation.
Only poems written in English can be considered, but we welcome poems in translation for consideration too. In the case that the winning work is translated, a percentage of the prize money would be awarded to the translator.
No past or present paid employees of the University of Nebraska Press, Akashic Books, or Amalion Press, or current faculty, students, or employees at the University of Nebraska are eligible for the prizes.
African poets who have published a chapbook in a New-Generation African Poets Chapbooks Box Set series remain eligible for the Evaristo African Poetry Prize if they have not published a full-length book of poems.
WHEN TO SEND
Manuscripts of 10 poems, no more and no less, will be accepted annually between October 1st and November 1st via Submittable. Please do not send any submissions via email. We do not have the capacity to track submissions by email and any manuscripts received as such will not be considered.
Poems must be the original work of the entrant and be no longer than 40 lines each.
Poems may have been previously published or won previous awards.
People who have entered previously for the prize can re-submit but are advised to share new poems.
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 entire submission must be in black ink, no colors.
All entries must be submitted via Submittable. Poems must be submitted in a single document without any identifying information included. Alterations cannot be made to poems once entered. The Submittable cover letter, which will be concealed to screeners and judges, should include the entrants’ name, nationality, country of birth, full address including country of permanent residence, personal email address and telephone number.
The APBF will convene a judging panel every year.
In 2022-2023, the judging panel includes Gabeba Baderoon (Chair), Tjawangwa Dema, and Tsitsi Jaji.
To ensure confidentiality and fairness, all submissions to the Evaristo Prize are handled by our Book Prize Coordinator, Nicole Lachat. Please direct questions regarding submissions to her attention at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The APBF reserves the right to not award the Prize if, in the judges’ opinion, such an action is justified. APBF also reserves the right to split the Prize if they decide that more than one poet is worthy of winning it.
A shortlist of poets will be announced in April, a winner in May. All shortlisted and winning poets agree to allow the APBF website to post their ten submitted poems.
For questions regarding the prize, please write to Siwar Masannat at email@example.com