African Poetry Prizes and Contests

“Rejected pieces aren’t failures; unwritten pieces are.” ~Greg Daugherty

African Poetry Book Fund

The African Poetry Book Fund promotes and advances the development and publication of the poetic arts through its book series, contests, workshops, and seminars and through its collaborations with publishers, festivals, booking agents, colleges, universities, conferences and all other entities that share an interest in the poetic arts of Africa.

The African Poetry Book Series will promote the writing and publication of African poetry through an international complex of additional collaborations and partnerships. The Fund and its partners will offer support for seminars, workshops and other publishing opportunities for African poets.

Here are some wonderful resources and contests for African Poets to explore:


I] The Brunel University African Poetry Prize



The Brunel University African Poetry Prize is a major annual poetry prize of £3000 aimed at the development, celebration and promotion of poetry from Africa. Now in it’s third year, this year the prize is sponsored by Brunel University and Commonwealth Writers.

British-Nigerian writer, Bernardine Evaristo, who teaches creative writing at Brunel University London, initiated the prize in 2012, and it is devoted exclusively devoted to African poetry:


The prize is open to poets who were born in Africa, or who are nationals of an African country, or whose parents are African. The prize is for ten poems exactly in order to encourage serious poets. These poems may, however, have already been published. Only poets who have not yet had a full-length poetry book published are eligible. Poets who have self-published poetry books or had chapbooks and pamphlets published are allowed to submit for this prize.



Entry opens annually between October 1 and November 30.  Visit their website for additional information:



II] The Sillerman First Book Prize For African Poets


The winner receives USD $1000 and publication through the University of Nebraska Press and Amalion Press in Senegal.

The African Poetry Series has been made possible through seed funding from philanthropists, Laura and Robert F. X. Sillerman, whose generous contributions have facilitated the establishment of the African Poetry Book Fund.  Mr. and Mrs. Sillerman have also welcomed the use of their name for the First Book Prize for African Poets.


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.


Manuscripts are accepted annually between September 15 and December 1st. Click Here for additional details.


III] The Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry



Under the auspices of the African Poetry Book Fund and in partnership with the literary journal, Prairie Schooner, The Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry is an annual award of USD $5,000. Named for the literary philanthropist Glenna Luschei, this Pan African Poetry Prize is the only one of its kind in the world and was established to promote African poetry written in English or in translation and to recognize a significant book published each year by an African poet. Each year, the prize is judged by an internationally renowned poet.


  • Books must be submitted in the year after their publication, which means that books published in 2014 must be submitted for consideration between May 1 and October 1, 2015.
  • The 2015 contest is open to any book of original poetry, in English, published during 2014 in a standard edition by a full-length collection of poetry written by any African national, African resident, or poet of African parentage with roots from any country, living anywhere in the world. A standard edition is 48 pages or more in length.
  • Books of translation are welcome and eligible for consideration for the prize.
  • Self-published books are not eligible.
  • Publishers may submit as many titles as they wish. The publisher should send four copies of each book to the Academy, postmarked between May 1 and October 1, 2015.
  • There is no entry fee but an entry form is required for each title submitted. The winner will be announced in December.

*Books published by the African Poetry Book Fund will not be eligible for consideration.



Manuscripts are accepted annually between May 1st and October 1st. Click Here for additional details.

Good luck and keep on writing!

(This information was culled from and accessed on Tuesday, May 5, 2015).

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