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 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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 )
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 )
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 )
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