Poetry award of a different kind
Written by David Tumusiime
Thursday, 03 September 2009 04:50
The literary world is used to literary awards having elderly patrons, men and women in their 50s and 60s. Or even more commonly, awards named after some dead notable.
This is just one of the many reasons why the Beverly Nambozo Poetry Award stands out.
Beverly Nambozo Nsengiyunva is no elderly lady.
The bubbly, petite Beverly is in fact a new mother with a 10-month-old baby, one of the younger members of FEMRITE, and an ambitious published poet herself.
If anything, Beverly is barely at the beginning of her life. So what in heaven’s name would possess her to start a literary award? And one named after herself?
“I feel strongly that there are so many poets, female poets, who are underground. I know for a fact that I have so many poems I have written.
I show them to a few people but that is where it ends because I don’t have the confidence to publish them. I want to motivate the women poets out there,” Beverly says.
Beverly was not in the least intimidated in setting up the first Ugandan literary award in a long time because, “I am a bold person really. I have been working in gender based organisations and I have a feeling for women.
This is something that I can do for Ugandan women. I felt that the time was now to do something to uplift poetry in the country. I decided to do it and see how it goes.”
How it went down at Fang Fang Restaurant on August 21 was that three young women emerged from the 60 poem submissions; Lillian Ajuo, Kemigisha Catherine, and Sophie Brenda. The overall winner, Ajuo, claimed 250 dollars, the first runner up, Kemigisha, got 150 dollars, while Sophie Brenda took 100 dollars for coming third.
The well attended event definitely impressed.
“I underestimated the cost of the event. At first I had thought I would hold a small event in the FEMRITE gardens but people kept on encouraging me to go all the way,” Beverly admitted afterwards.
“It is a learning process. Thankfully I did get some sponsors. Word Alive Publishers, UHMG, Uganda Clays and FEMRITE were on board and that helped a lot. I am going to prepare earlier for next year’s event.”
The poet whose 67-poem manuscript I’m Jumping is ready for publication named the award after herself because, “I don’t have anyone else’s name to call it. I decided to use my name because it will make me work harder to make sure it is successful. It is also my way of attracting writers to me. I enjoy the company of writers.”
To qualify for the Beverly Nambozo Poetry Award, you must be female, above 20 years, and resident in Uganda. Each poet is allowed to submit at least three pieces.