Thursday, August 16, 2012


The London 2012 Olympics are over. Botswana earned her first Olympic medal courtesy of Nijel Amos’ 800m silver. We came close in the women’s 400m with Amantle Montsho flying through both her heats and coming in a close 4th behind the bronze in the final. Winners all the same, both of them.

Gold: A heart returned
For Amantle and Nijel

I wake to London at 3 am
Its familiar and bright voice, foreign
What is home for another man
Is now London for me
Nothing as concrete as a day in this city
Less fire and silence
Than Wordsworth’s morning ride perhaps
But wise men know Wideman was right
Night changes things
Back to their once upon a time
To give a likeness of some long ago morn

Abani tells us he says guava and means childhood
I say London and mean a dream
One I can get to without changing my religion
Though the world remains too much with all things
Today this pulp is a key
Our names political geography
But what opens any door is the biometric weight of an I
That imperfect scale to measure the distance
Between destination and desire
I am there now with something in hand,
Perhaps returned after some battle has been won,
Miles after the night has given up its aeroplane drone
Opened itself, to free its half-alive cargo
Into Heathrow’s flowerless dawn

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Brunel University African Poetry Prize

The Brunel University African Poetry Prize is a major new poetry prize of £3000 aimed at the development, celebration and promotion of poetry from Africa. The prize is sponsored by Brunel University and partnered by Commonwealth Writers, the Africa Centre UK, and the African Poetry Book Fund USA.British-Nigerian writer, Bernardine Evaristo* initiated the prize.

The prize will be for ten poems by an African writer who has not yet had a full-length poetry book published. (Self-published books, chapbooks and pamphlets are exempt.)
The prize is open to poets who were born in Africa, or who are nationals of an African country, or whose parents are African.
Only poetry written in English is eligible. Translated poetry is accepted but a percentage of the prize will be awarded to the translator.
The prize opens for entries on October 26th 2012 and the winner will be announced in April 2013.
In collaboration with the African Poetry Book Fund, the Brunel University African Poetry Prize will develop a series of poetry workshops and courses in Africa in its efforts to provide technical support for poets writing in Africa.
For more updates and additional information go to theFacebook page of the Prize or contact Bernardine Evaristo at Additional information about the Brunel University African Poetry Prize will be available at the website of the African Poetry Book Fund,
Brunel University
Brunel University is a public research university located in London, winner of the Queen’s Anniversary Prize in 2011 for Higher and Further Education. The university has seen phenomenal rises in the recent university ranking guides. In the first Times Higher Education guide to the top 100 universities founded in the last 50 years, Brunel is placed 1st in London, 6th in the UK, and 35th internationally. English and Creative Writing have been ranked in the top quartile of the Guardian University Guide 2013.
Commonwealth Writers
Commonwealth Writers is a new cultural programme within the Commonwealth Foundation which develops, connects, and inspires writers. By awarding prizes and running on the ground activities, it works in partnership with international literary organisations, the wider cultural industries and civil society to help writers develop their craft in the fifty four countries of the Commonwealth. is a forum where members from anywhere in the world can exchange ideas and contribute to debates.
 *Bernardine Evaristo is the author of six books of fiction and verse fiction including LaraThe Emperor’s Babe and Blonde Roots. Her latest novel will be published by Penguin UK in Spring 2013. An editor and literary critic for the national newspapers, she teaches creative writing at Brunel University. As an advocate for poets of colour, she initiated the Free Verse report and The Complete Works mentoring schemes to develop poets of colour to publication in the UK – with Spread the Word writing agency. She has judged many leading literary awards and in 2012 she was Chair of both the Commonwealth Short Story Prize and the Caine Prize for African Fiction. Winter 2012 she is Guest Editor of Poetry Review, Britain’s leading poetry journal. She has won several literary awards, is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the Royal Society of Arts and she was made an MBE in 2009.