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Shortlist for 2021’s Brunel International African Poetry Prize announced

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Police brutality and the death of schoolboy Damilola Taylor are among the unflinching and urgent themes tackled by contenders for 2021’s Brunel International Poetry Prize. More than 1000 people from the continent and its diaspora submitted a collection of 10 poems to enter the 3000-pound competition this year. This is a major prize aimed at the development, celebration and promotion of poetry from Africa and is sponsored by Brunel University London. 

The eight shortlisted poets are Kweku Abimbola from Gambia, Arao Ameny from Uganda, Isabelle Baafi from South Africa, Asmaa Jama from Somalia, Tumello Motabola from Lesotho, Oluwadare Popoola from Nigeria, Yomi Sode from Nigeria and Othuke Umukoro from Nigeria. 

From the Chair, Karen McCarthy Woolf: “This year’s shortlist includes an exciting array of new and emerging voices from across the continent and diaspora, from South Africa and Lesotho, to Nigeria, Gambia, Somalia and Uganda. Thematically, the poems have shared and diverse concerns, from Yomi Sodé’s memorial to Damilola Taylor to Nathan Kweku John’s meditation on Ashanti naming traditions that also commemorates victims of police brutality.”

The winner is announced on May 11th ’21.