Liyou Libsekal wins 2014 Brunel African Poetry Prize

Liyou Libsekal wins 2014 Brunel African Poetry Prize

Liyou Mesfin LibsekalPRESS RELEASE

The winner of the second Brunel University African Poetry Prize is Liyou Libsekal, an Ethiopian poet who lives in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The two runners-up are Amy Lukau (Angola) and Nick Makoha (Uganda)

Judges 2014: Kwame Dawes, Kadija George, Mpalive Msiska, Daljit Nagra and Chair, Bernardine Evaristo

The judges praised Liyou’s poetry for its accomplished modulation between the concrete and the abstract; her impressive use of the fully realised image; and the power and beauty of her language.

Liyou Mesfin Libsekal  was born in 1990 in Ethiopia and grew up traveling with her family, spending the majority of her childhood in different parts of East Africa. She earned a BA in Anthropology from George Washington University in 2012, with a minor in international affairs and a concentration in international development. Liyou returned to Ethiopia after spending a short time in Vietnam. Since January 2013 she has written on culture and the changing environment of her rapidly developing country for the Ethiopian Business Review. 

To see some of Liyou’s winning poems, visit the next page 

The Shortlisted Poets 2014
Viola Allo (Cameroon); Inua Ellams (Nigeria); Amy Lukau (Angola); Nick Makoha (Uganda); Vuyelwa Maluluke (South Africa)

About the Prize
The prize is for African poets who have not yet published a full-length poetry collection. Entrants submit ten poems and we received 579 entries and drew up a shortlist of six poets.

Bernardine Evaristo, founder and chair of the prize, says this about the prize: ‘I have judged several prizes in the past few years, including chairing the Caine Prize for African Fiction in 2012, an award that has revitalized the fortunes of fiction from Africa since its inception in 1999. It became clear to me that poetry from the continent could also do with a prize to draw attention to it and to encourage a new generation of poets who might one day become an international presence. African poets are rarely published in Britain. I hope this prize will introduce exciting new poets to Britain’s poetry editors.’

Last year the prize was won by Somali poet, Warsan Shire, who has since been translated into several languages, travelled to six countries as a writer, had a chapbook published in the US, and been appointed the first Young Poet Laureate for London.

Liyou Libsekal will be appearing at the Times Cheltenham Literature Festival on October 10th with Bernardine Evaristo. Visit: for more details once the 2014 programme is online.

The Brunel Prize works closely with The African Poetry Book Fund’s New Generation African Poets’ Series – who will publish chapbooks by the following BUAPP poets in 2014 and 2015: Liyou Libsekal, Warsan Shire, Nick Makoha, Amy Lukau, Viola Allo, Inua Ellams and Vuyelwa Maluleke.

APBF is based at the University of Nebraska, founded and directed by Kwame Dawes.

            The prize will reopen for entries on September 1st 2014 for the 2015 prize.

For further information and to contact Liyou Libsekal for interviews please email Bernardine Evaristo at [email protected]

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