The Evaristo Prize for African Poetry is a notable literary accolade presented annually to honor the exceptional talent of African poets. The prize carries a prestigious award of USD $1,500 and is bestowed upon ten remarkable poems crafted by African poets.
Originally conceived as the Brunel International African Poetry Prize (BIAPP) in 2012, the prize was established by the acclaimed British writer, Bernardine Evaristo. For a decade, Evaristo dedicated her efforts to nurturing and overseeing the prize’s growth. The BIAPP’s primary mission was to cultivate emerging poets in Africa, providing them with a platform to exhibit their literary prowess, fostering the development of a new generation of poets capable of making a lasting international impact.
In 2022, the stewardship of this celebrated prize was transitioned to the African Poetry Book Fund (APBF), a close collaborator with the BIAPP. The prize was renamed the Evaristo Prize to commemorate its founder’s legacy. The transition allowed the APBF to continue the prize’s noble mission of recognizing and encouraging the extraordinary talents of African poets.
Winning the Evaristo Prize has not only been a moment of recognition but also a stepping stone to broader literary success for many poets. Recipients of the BIAPP, now known as the Evaristo Prize, have enjoyed increased visibility, published chapbooks and full-length collections of poetry, and clinched additional accolades. The impact of these poets continues to reverberate on the global literary stage, contributing significantly to the richness and diversity of contemporary African poetry.
In essence, the Evaristo Prize for African Poetry, with its legacy rooted in the BIAPP, is a testament to the dedication and vision of Bernardine Evaristo. Its transformation into the Evaristo Prize ensures that the celebration of African poetic talent endures, inspiring and empowering emerging poets to reach new heights in their literary journeys.
Eligibility Criteria For The Evaristo Prize for African Poetry
- 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.
- 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.
The APBF will convene a judging panel every year.
In 2022-2023, the judging panel included Gabeba Baderoon (Chair), Tjawangwa Dema, and Tsitsi Jaji.
Check this page for more information regarding the next judging panel.
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.
Application Deadline: November 1st, 2023