Monday, December 17, 2012

For Sarah Baartman-poem by Serubiri Moses

For Sarah Baartman By Serubiri Moses I have come to take you home where the ancient mountains shout your name. I have made your bed at the foot of the hill, your blankets are covered in buchu and mint, the proteas stand in yellow and white – Diane Ferrus I am coming back home. Sheets of volcanic rock lean over me like tree branches, Shielding my mouth from glaring sun, soothing my feet like a babe in bosom, I am home on these black rocks that bear markings of my forefathers, on which earth they planted trees and manicured lawns, where zebras melt into the zen-like quietness of the landscape in deep grayish browns. I am home trekking the valley with my goats, sheep and cattle. Sarah, our black bodies have left the museums now. My black body has found its silence here among the crater lakes. I return from the place where black bodies are fetishized like fertility dolls, soiled with white semen, and white curses to those to whom Black Beauty must be tamed and groomed. Sarah, I am home in Naivasha on the volcanic bench, where vapor rises from the hot tarmac like morning fog in the rain. Sarah, I am home where The road is a long tongue that drinks up the rain with a terrible thirst.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Literary bloggers out there this is for you: Wasafiri blogger – call for applications Wasafiri, founded in 1984, is a quarterly magazine for contemporary international literature. Based in London, the magazine publishes essays, interviews, fiction and poetry by established and emerging writers from diasporic communities and around the world. The magazine has also established an annual New Writing Prize. Wasafiri is hosted by the Open University London and funded by Routledge, its co-publisher, and the Arts Council England. We are looking for someone with a proven interest in international literature, culture and arts to blog for Wasafiri. The ideal candidate will be someone who can write in an engaging manner about topics and themes that feature in Wasafiri. This is a paid position, with at least one blog a month to be produced, which will be approved by the Wasafiri editorial staff. Blogger Specifications Must be experienced in writing on international literature and related subjects through, but not limited to, postgraduate studies or journalistic output. Ability to work to tight deadlines and take initiative. Past experience of blogging (preferred). Ability to work independently, seek out opportunities and take initiative. Good research skills and an understanding of the responsibilities that come with working for a reputable international magazine. Candidates may be based outside UK. Please send a writing sample, a brief description of some ideas for the blog and a cover letter with CV and references to Deadline for applications is 22 February 2013.

Two Strangers: Christmas poem by BNN

Two Strangers One Sunday in December, Two strangers sat near each other in church. The Pastor talked about Salvation and hope. Then he told the church to join hands and pray. The strangers joined hands and prayed for the nation of Israel and for one another. After the service, the strangers said, Bless you, to one another, and parted ways. The next day, the strangers met in the supermarket. They both reached for the past packet of milk. It spilt on the floor and they both cussed at each other. You fool! you idiot! And they parted ways. BNN 2012

Sacrifice, poem by my friend from Lancaster, Alex Evans

Sacrifice by Alexandra O’Toole Evans We loved the tenderness of this poem by Alexandra, especially its unlikely physical manifestations. A perfect way to start the week. Enjoy! . Sacrifice . When you are out there, hanging from lengths of rope, with nothing but pipes and pieces of corrugated metal to break your fall; and the sea, surrounding you, soothing you, ever threatening to swallow you whole, I am in the kitchen, shaking earth from root vegetables; scraping off their rough skins, before I chop them into pieces and drown them in scalding water. . Do you think I don’t know the risks you take? Guilt and uselessness gnaw at me every day. So I make lists, and tick things off as I go, charting my success in crosses out and cups of tea; marking my days with memories made digital and sending them to your inbox out at sea. To the east: where you hang from lengths of rope. . . . Alexandra O’Toole is currently editing her first novel and has just completed an MA in Creative Writing at Lancaster University. When she’s not writing or blogging about writing at she works with businesses to help them connect with their audiences through stories. Tags: Kumquat Poetry poetry poem Alexandra O'Toole

Friday, November 30, 2012


Call for applications: Singapore Creative Writing Residency 2013 (18-01-13) Co-organised by the National University of Singapore University Scholars Programme (NUS USP) and The Arts House, the Singapore Creative Writing Residency is created to promote creative writing in Singapore. The residency aims to: a. Provide time and space for the Resident Writer to complete, or make substantial progress with a written work in English; b. Generate interaction and critical discussion among potential writers and stimulate new writing from them through mentorship and public programmes. The completed work, or part of a work, which can be fiction or non-fiction, may cover any topic, and should be in one of the following forms; prose, verse, stage play, radio play or screenplay. The work must be of publishable standard and must be ready for a public reading/lecture. The residency will last for six months from July to December 2013, and the Resident Writer will be required to take up residence at Cinnamon College, the USP residential college at NUS. The resident will receive a monthly stipend. The resident will be provided with board, lodging, a computer, and supporting peripherals during the tenure of his/her residency. Applications are now open! Visit for more details.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Marianne Wilson quote: one of my favourite

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. It comes from her book, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles (1992)
(Internet source)


Hello Friends, From 2014, when the award hits its regional East Africa audience, the name will change. It will still remain the same for the Ugandan women in diaspora though. In Early December, when the board meets, a suitable one will emerge I am sure. When this award began, I honestly thought it would be a very small affair where I would use my salary then to award the prizes. So many of you including the media saw it as a much bigger space than I ever could have and for that I am grateful. It is important to know that iron sharpens iron and one ember of coal brings more heat than a solitary one. There are so many pleasant surprises that have emerged from the award namely global partners, support from unlikely individuals and the passion has spread like wildfire. I am very glad to know that the team is growing. Late this year Tipu Arts Center, headed by Beatrice Lamwaka will head to Gulu to coordinate poetry camps there, a great way to end the year. Our new partners in Nairobi, Storymoja are ready to host the winners of the award next year in Nairobi and we have new partners who are willing to facilitate a trip to a winner to attend the Zanzibar Arts Festival in March next year too. Our judges Mildred Barya and Apuuli Mugasa are about to begin editing the submissions of the anthology of poetry from East Africa, that will take a while and we look forward to the results. It is time to think bigger, consolidate the team and work towards refining the poetry we have so far. Congratulations to the many poets from the region and beyond who have had a successful year and many good wishes for the next year too. Here's to a great 2013.
(Internet source)

SESETULA ARTS E SESSE Festival of the arts 7th-9th December 2012.

Xenson arts and Zawadieye presents “Sesetula arts e Ssese” under the theme “Why I do what I do” loosely translated as “lwaki nkola zenkola” What is Sesetula Arts e Sesse? Sesetula arts e Ssese is a festival of the arts on the beautiful and serene Ssese islands. We are celebrating the climax of a wonderful 2012 and the diversity and richness that is the arts; their ability to impart knowledge, creativity, determination and compassion.
Internet source: Purpose of the Festival This project seeks to explore linkages that exist between art, culture and nature. OBJECTIVES 1. Enhance participation and appreciation of all genres of art; visual, performing, literary. 2. Promote cultural identity and encourage greater affinity with nature. 3. Inspire and reiterate self-belief and confidence. About the Venue. Scattered across the North Eastern corner of Lake Victoria; Africa’s largest fresh water lake are 84 islands that make up the Sesse group; Kalangala district in Central Uganda. To the South West is the Bugala group and to the North East; Koone group. The largest and most accessible of these is Bugala which is the district headquarters. Pearl Gardens campsite is located 100m from Lutoboka bay on Bugala Island. This 20 acre sprawling beach resort operates a secure and well maintained camping ground within the natural forest and along the beach equipped and ideal for group camping. The resort also has built cottages and rooms as alternative accommodation. Target This annual festival will draw together art lovers and enthusiasts, the local community as well as artists from all genres. Visual arts and handicrafts that include among others; basketry, mats, ceramics, beads, pottery, hand-woven textiles and products, toys, jewelry, bags and ornaments, leather products, batik, wood carvings and paintings. Performing arts; dance, drama, music, theatre, motion pictures, opera, traditional sports and the marching arts such as brass bands as well as literacy arts that use language to express oratory and literature; poets, comedians and writers. Activities • Battle of the bands: Arguably 2012 has been the year of the band as more and more Ugandans embrace the concept of live music. Bands will have the opportunity to go head to head in an explosion of instruments and musical genius. • Poetry and book reading: Literary art lovers will have the opportunity to engage in various recitals and review chapters of a local publication courtesy of FEMRITE (Uganda Women Writers Association). • Story telling: The “Original Musese”, as he is locally known is one of the oldest men on the island and will engage in folklore and convey the oral history and traditions of the Basese people. • Jam sessions: Whether you are an accomplished musician or not, bring your own instrument and let’s create beautiful music. • Dance recital: Mix of contemporary and modern dance styles. • Disco: DJ Apeman; Africa’s finest DJ will be on the spin tables displaying his talent and playing your favorite jams. • Boat graffiti: Working in teams, that include local fishermen, participants will get a chance to spray paint a boat on the beach. After this exercise, teams will get into their boats and the fishermen will treat us to a spectacular race to Lutoboka bay. • Treasure hunt: Teams will get to explore the Island following and deciphering a given set of clues to find the ultimate prize. Whichever team gets to the treasure first, wins it. • Culinary art: To celebrate the culinary arts, participants will take turns preparing breakfast; the first and most important meal of the day. • Exhibition: Those with items to sell will be allotted a special place to display their wares. How to participate/ getting there: For more information on our packages and to make reservations, please call Achan on 0751697010, or Esther on0772381552, Remember, we only have 150 slots available so book early to avoid disappointment.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Hello, this message is for you-you who have been there for the team during the arduous and rewarding years of putting the BN Poetry Award together.
(Photo taken from one of the art pieces at Kenya National Museum) Thanks for being a heads up kind of person during the 4 past BN Poetry Award ceremonies. Next year 2013, will be the last annual poetry award for Ugandan women living in Uganda because, we have decided it is time to live larger. From 2014, the award will increase to include both female and male poets from East Africa. The award has achieved significant success in Uganda with remarkable aplomb amidst support from the media, individuals and other literary groups in Uganda and in honour of the surprises of poetry, it's time to show how radical and real poetry can be. If there ever was a time, it's now. Further to that, the award will also target Ugandan Women in the Diaspora , specific to regions. For example, in 2014, target Ugandan women in Southern Africa, 2015, Ugandan women in the U.K, and with the succeeding years, a new region. These ideas were augmented from the intense individuals whose ideas are like a springboard whenever we sit for our roundtable discussions. of the BN Poetry Foundation. Currently, we are still accepting poems from poets from Eastern Africa for an anthology thanks to funding from Prince Claus Fund. If you are interested, send the poems to as a word attachment with your contact details. The deadline is end of December 2012. 2013 is going to be an intense fundraising year and a great time to be alive. Have a memorable week and you may follow us on facebook at Beverley Nambozo Poetry Foundation and this Friday and Saturday from 6:00pm, Lantern Meet of Poets will be holding a recital at The Uganda National Cultural Center (National Theater), tickets at only 10,000/-.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

WriTivism Short Realist Prose Competition 2013

WriTivism Short Realist Prose Competition 2013 by Center for African Cultural Excellence (CACE) on Tuesday, October 16, 2012 at 1:22am · The Center for African Cultural Excellence (CACE) in collaboration with the Association of Uganda Female Writers (FEMRITE), The Observer, Kushinda, Writing our World and individual partners invites entries from young people aged 15-25 years, resident in Uganda to the WriTivism competition. The competition welcomes short fiction that addresses contemporary issues in society around the themes of Diversity, Equality and Identity interpreted creatively and liberally. Guidelines for the competition · Stories should be 1000 to 1500 words long, unpublished elsewhere, sent strictly by email to as word attachments latest by midnight of 30th, November, 2012. · A long-list will be released on 31st of December, 2012, and a shortlist will be published on the 14th of January 2013 after which shortlisted writers shall attend a one-day writing workshop on the 19th of January, 2013. · Shortlisted stories shall be published in The Observer and in a Kushinda published anthology. · Shortlisted writers agree to participate in all WriTivism activities including entering their story to be voted by readers in the WriTivist of the Year Award contest. For more information and for feedback about the competition, contact us through our Facebook page or come to Plot 640, Nabulagala road in the Africa Youth Development Link building, or send us an email at or check our website at

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Susan Piwang shares her story at Storymoja Hay Fest in Nairobi

The Storymoja Hay festival, as I understood it, is a celebration of literary work in Africa. Storymoja collaborates with Hay Festival, a group that runs literary festivals worldwide. It is a chance to have new, young writers meet famous authors and learn more about writing; to discover the mystery of literature (which, if you are already an author, isn’t a mystery at all), and in general a great big jamboree that revolves around books. After attending it, you should walk away thinking, ‘ah, how proud I am to be literate!’ And I did.
Poetry Masterclass with Lemn Sissay I attended under the Beverley Nambozo Poetry Foundation. As winner of the fourth poetry contest I was awarded a full-expense paid trip to Nairobi to attend the festival. The most significant change I experienced is of course actually winning the prize. I have been used to getting compliments on my work which made me think that in the very least my writing was ‘okay’. But winning this competition was a leap away from the mediocre state of average. I had thought I’d have a chance at second, or third. First place was a daring dream that I honestly thought would remain a dream. Winning the prize was overwhelming; it was a blatant declaration; a foghorn blaring in my ears and shaking my settled brain: YOUR WORK IS NUMBER ONE MATERIAL! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!! Don’t worry about any brain damage. If anything, my brain is working better than ever. I think it had been still for too long and was on the verge of stagnancy; I needed the shake up. Winning the prize opened the door to a hall of a million more doors, all holding many opportunities behind them. I have never attended anything like the Storymoja festival until now. I never even thought there could be those many people willing to do so much for the love of reading—in one country, I mean. It was a change to be a part of such a wonderful group and not to be looking on from the outside. To know that I wasn’t there because someone-or-other pulled some strings (not that I have ever gotten anywhere that way), but on my own merit, with my own work, because of my writing. My work is no longer the profound sentiments I scribble down in secret and recite to an audience of one—me. I was listened to, appreciated and congratulated. Yes, at eighteen, I made my mark.
Susan Piwang at the Poetry gala The whole experience was encouraging as well. Being in the middle of all those great literary minds was a motivation. The energy of the entire event commanded my slowing molecules into movement and I highly doubt they will ever stop again. I have become a literary perpetual motion machine! Need I say more? The Beverley Nambozo Poetry Award is a voice for the mute, a stage for the timid and a chance for those with none (I know that’s so cliché, but it’s still very true). I’m just glad it happened to exist at the same time I did and that I could be part of it.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Paula Biraaro's story at Storymoja Hay Fest 2012

13th to 16th September 2012 found me in the city of Nairobi attending the StoryMoja Hay Festival held in the fabulous setting of the National Museum. My participation in such a great event resulted from being a second winner of the Fourth Beverley Nambozo Poetry Award 2012 under the theme Music with my poem entitled ‘Nyamwezi’. I attended this event with Ms. Beverley Nambozo and Ms. Susan Piwang (winner of the award) and our trip was proudly sponsored by Stichting Doen. The journey to leading this festival is still kind of surreal to me. As I sat en route to Nairobi, I had series of flash backs. I remembered lying on my bed at 10 pm tapping my laptop keys as my mind juiced words that would eventually be the poem ‘Nyamwezi’. I remembered getting the invitation for the award dinner, hearing my name being announced as a second winner and my unexpected scream of joy that tore out of my mouth. I remembered thinking ‘How can this be? ‘Who am I to win this?’ and ‘Am I a really a poet?’ Such questions darted across my mind as I read my poem to the audience. Not only had my work been commended and recognized, I had won USD$300, five autographed books authored by great African women writers and the icing on the cake was a fully sponsored trip to attend the StoryMoja Festival in Nairobi! From arrival to departure, we hit the ground running for the StoryMoja team had organised an action packed crash course programme. At the festival launch at the Nairobi Museum courtyard I felt a little intimidated as I looked at these ‘strangers’ who seemed to know each other throwing hugs and kisses with shouts of laughter burst from their lips. Upon our introduction my perception slowly changed. These strangers later on became acquaintances, mentors and in some few cases friends. We were all warmly welcomed and Susan and I were congratulated upon our achievement. Sure, I was a novice in their world but I begun to see myself through their eyes, patting myself on my back and thinking ‘Paula, you can do greater things, this is only the beginning!’ I attended master classes under the tutelage of thought provoking award winning novelist Dinaw Mengestu. I got to appreciate the importance of careful scrutiny every sentence and message it conveys when writing a book/short story, communication with the audience, and how individuality and originality makes the difference.
Susan Piwang, Dinaw Mengestu and Paula Biraaro. Photo by BNN The effervescent Lemn Sissay took us through exciting poetry exercises that changed my outlook on power of words, expression and description. I got to rub shoulders and prod some brilliant minds of amazing, famous writers who were surprising humble and willing to share their experiences. Their words of advice centered towards following your dream, persistence, hard work and to keep writing! I was so blessed with their words of advice and encouragement which I treasure and heed to date. The true test in this whole experience was when I had to present my poem before an audience as a guest panelist at the poetry gala. This was a totally different league! Imagine sitting on the same panel with renowned poets, some internationally acclaimed, sharing your experience and presenting your poem. A concoction of feelings of excitement, fear, determination flooded my mind as I sought to achieve this feat. Thankfully, everything went smoothly, I didn’t choke and it was turning point on how I regarded my talent and I vowed to exploit it to its full potential. The last event climaxing the festival was the play written, directed and acted by the Sitawa Namwalie. It was enlightening to see her vivid poetry through performance which helped send her message home. I am grateful to BN Poetry for the horse kick to using my gift and I can proudly say that I am no longer a ‘closet poet’. Danke Schon to Stichting Doen for their financial support and I salute Beverley and Susan for being entertaining company! I had a blast! My prayer is for Uganda to plan and organize for such an event in Kampala. There is a saying that your life can change in a moment. Mine changed in those captivating three days. Thank you.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Poets from Eastern Africa-send us your poems

The Beverley Nambozo Poetry Foundation is compiling poems from poets of East Africa for an anthology which will come out in 2013. This has been possible with the generous contribution of Prince Claus Fund. We kindly request you to send up to a maximum of three original poems in English or in a local language with the English translation, from which one or two will be selected. The winners of the BN Poetry Award from 2009 to 2012, will have their winning poems published and they may submit another for consideration if they so please.
I took this photo at the Nairobi museum, after realising it was not allowed, but it's cute, right? The theme is open and submissions will be accepted from 1st August 2012 to 20th December 2012 (Deadline has been extended). The copyright of these poems will belong to the poets. At the moment, there are consultations with various publishing houses and once a selection has been made, you will be notified. Payment will be made upon publication. Kindly submit poems to and copy to Send poems as Microsoft word attachments in Times New Roman size 12, include your name, email and phone contacts and nationality. This does not mean that we do not appreciate you for taking part in this process. Poets must be from either Burundi, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Tanzania, South Sudan or Uganda. For details on what the BN Poetry Foundation does, visit or you can like us on facebook, Beverley Nambozo Poetry Foundation.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

storymoja Hay fest 2012, sawa sawa!

It was an unrealistically beautiful experience. A packed programme with so many fantastic options from Lemn Sissay the larger than life performance poet, Dinaw Mengestu, winner of 2007 Guardian first book award for his novel,Children of the Revolution to Sitawa Namwilie,author of Cut off my Tongue. The 13th to 17th September 2012 will hardly be forgotten.
The poets at Lemn Sissay's class, storymoja hay fest 2012 The winners of the 2012 BN Poetry Award Susan Piwang and Paula Biraaro, attended the festival as part of their prize and surprisingly blew me away when they recited their winning pieces during the poetry gala on the morning of the 14th at the storymoja amphitheater, Nairobi Museum. By the way, that museum puts ours to shaaaaaaaaaame. There you can carry out parallel workshops, play music and charge an entry fee without the fear of the artefacts crumbling under too much wind. During the effervescent Lemn Sissay’s poetry masterclass, he said one important thing, among many. The stage should be the last place a poem should be. Every poet will remember that. And then Dinaw, sigh, what a writer! I told him that he is the type of writer that can easily write with a female protagonist without the readers figuring it out. His first novel Children of the Revolution started his career and from the deliberate and careful way he selects his words before speaking, it is no doubt his career will make him leap bounds. Oh, and he hates these over used words like She smiled. He was like, what kind of smile? It should be specific to the character. I chaired the discussion of his book and fund out, he also believes in writing for social change! Yeiiii!
Bev and Dinaw Mengestu after his writing masterclass The second night we were hosted at a grand dinner at Muthoni Garland’s house (read palace). You have never seen anything like it. The founder of the storymoja Hay Fest cut no corners when it came to building her home sweeter than home. My eyes got drunk with all the magnificence. It was a cosy dinner where I got to talk to Giles Foden who by the way doesn’t talk much, no sir! Curt answers, well, at least I got a photo.
Bev and Giles Foden, author of Last King of Scotland (Muthoni's house in background) Lots of artists, Precious Williams, Lola Shoneyin, Akil,Eurig the Welsh poet, Lauri Kubuitsile, a prolific and most down to earth writer from the continent I have met. Then the unmistakable John Sibi Okumu of Zain Africa Challenge who talks on and on and on, I guess to match his stature. He is an interesting person to listen to. It was gwangamanga mwah mwah mwah. Can there be a Hay Festival in Uganda? You tell me. Susan, Paula and I were the only Ugandans from Uganda , so make sure you're there next time, you will love it-I did!
Some of us at the British Council farewell reception

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Carson prize for poetry and prose-15 Nov deadline

Mixed Fruit Magazine is pleased to announce the Carson Prize in Poetry or Prose, a writing contest that will present one winning writer with a $100 award and publication in our first print issue, to be published in early 2013.
Warthog at Queen Elizabeth National Park, 2009, Photo by BNN The Carson Prize is open to all writers in all genres. We’ll read work from established or emerging authors. We welcome submissions from writers of any nationality. As with our general submissions, we will judge entries on merit alone–all submissions should exclude names or any other identifying information. This contest is free to enter–there is no reading fee whatsoever. We welcome entrants to submit up to five poems of any length or up to two prose pieces (8,000 words or less per piece). If you feel that your submission blurs the line between prose and poetry, select one of the categories and we assure you it will be passed on to the appropriate editors. The author whose work is deemed most worthy of the Carson Prize will be awarded $100 and publication in the print issue, along with two contributor copies. Only one monetary award will be given, but three finalists will be published in the print issue and will receive one contributor copy, and all entries will be considered for publication in either the print issue or a future online issue. We do accept simultaneous submissions, but if your piece is accepted elsewhere, you must withdraw it immediately. This contest is only open to writing that has not been previously published. To enter, visit our submissions manager and submit your piece under the Carson Prize category. We will not accept entries via email or post. This contest is fee-free, but we will have two options at the time of submission: you may enter with no fee at all, or you may choose to include a donation with your entry. Donations will in no way influence the judges’ decisions. Please ensure that your entry does not include your name or other identifying information at any point, even in the file name. We’ll know who you are when the time comes–we promise. CONTACT INFORMATION: For queries: Website:

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Feminist Leadership Institute Novemver 2012, Nairobi

The fourth Feminist Leadership and Movement Building Institute is a five-day course designed to strengthen feminist leadership, strategies, and collective power for social transformation in Africa.
The leader of an elephant pack is a female, called the Matriarch The Institute will combine reflection on the current political landscape as well as past organising strategies for women's rights in Africa by using a trans-movement building approach. Looking at diverse movements in Africa and globally, participants will be able to relate some of the experiences and lessons from these movements to their own contexts, countries, and regions. This Institute will be held in collaboration with GROOTS Kenya and Akili Dada. Course Content The movement building approach challenges groups to critically assess how they have organised themselves to achieve their social justice goals. In particular, it enables participants to explore their political agenda, involvement of constituents, and strategies for collective action underpinned by reflection. Using a movement-building lens, the process will allow participants to build their knowledge on the theoretical underpinnings of movement building, synthesised from analyses of global movements. Additionally, participants will identify the different intersections, interactions, common spaces, and challenges that social movements encounter when collaborating on issues of women's human rights. From this, they will critically assess pre-existing resources of the women's movement in Africa. They will also identify and explore concrete strategies to strengthen links between movements to advance women's human rights more collectively. The Institute will cover the following topics: - Social movements and power-concepts and theory - Movements, organizations, and leadership-theory and practice - Current issues and challenges of the women's movement in Africa - Women in peace and conflict resolution - Women's political participation - Assessing our impact-approaches and tools The Institute will foreground reflection at the personal and institutional levels, which will both enable and challenge participants to strengthen their leadership skills and strategies to effect real change for women's rights and social justice in Africa. Participants To participate you must: - Be a woman between 25 and 45 years of age - Reside or work in East Africa (Burundi, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Somaliland, Tanzania, and Uganda)**** - Have a minimum of 3 years of experience working on gender issues, women's rights, development, and/or youth activism (voluntary or employment) - Be able to demonstrate how you will use what you learn at the Institute in your work and how you will continue to participate in follow-up activities - Have a working knowledge of the English language Venue and Dates The fourth Feminist Leadership and Movement Building Institute will be held in Nairobi, Kenya, during 5-9 November 2012 (Begins 9 am on 5 November; Ends 4 pm on 9 November). Travel and Visa Participants are responsible for incurring their travel costs to and from the Institute, and obtaining their own visa. CREA will assist with the visa process by providing a letter of invitation and required visa letters. Costs Tuition, accommodation, and meals for the duration of the Institute will be covered by the organisers. Participants will be required to pay a registration fee of USD 50. Participants must cover their own travel expenses. A limited number of travel scholarships are available on a need basis. Accommodation Accommodation will be on twin-sharing basis. Application Only applicants residing and working in East Africa (Burundi, Djiboutim Eritea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Somalialand, Tanzania and Uganda) are encouraged to apply. Deadline: 10 September 2012 Applications are due on or before *10 September 2012*. To apply online, click eminist If you experience difficulty with the online method, download the application from CREA's website ( and e-mail the completed form to Sushma Luthra at or to CREA at Send any queries to Ms Luthra as well.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Betty Kituyi gives birth to yet another poem

I want you to know how happy I am with my little poem, Falling, having taken the third position in this years’ Beverley Nambozo Poetry Award! The prizes were great thanks to our sponsors!
Birds at Queen Elizabeth National Park, photo by BNN, 2009 The evening of 29th June 2012 when I read my poem to the guests at the poetry evening, I felt like giving birth to it. The message in the poem coincided with the pain of loss of my village mates in Bududa village who had been buried by landslides. At that moment, my poem carried hope for me and for my people and that meant so much to me. My people needed to hear those words ‘ I am learning from the weeping clouds that falling isn’t dying.’ Maybe there is meaning to this death in my village. May be death is not an end. I keep thinking. Since the award, my poem has been shown off to friends, family and organisations and it feels like sharing a new precious baby to the world: My friend Theresa Wolfwood from Canada says it is a powerful poem with no word out of place. Sumeet Glover a UK based poet and a friend to Terry, wrote a lovely commentary about the poem and wants to feature it on his website: www. global These are his words: “ yes, I do remember this poem, and it was very much on my mind to reply to that email of yours from few weeks back. I was yet to spend time reflecting on this poem, but on the top of my head, I believe it's a beautiful poem. It is a celebration of feminism and it talks of the freedom every woman deserves, especially in Eastern and African societies where gender roles are strictly restricted. After reading this poem a few times, I thought "only if every woman had this sense of inner and outer freedom to just be whoever she wants to be". So yes, it contains a very powerful message for male-dominated and bigoted societies. On the other hand, it contains a very feminine and engaging sense of hope for other women to let themselves out, to breathe free, to let the rain fall, to get drenched in its waters and to walk home. The essence of this poem is a fearless 'awakening' to a woman's freedom. If there was a choice, this poem could also be renamed "fearless". Only if every woman had this freedom! That is my final thought, especially after I recently heard of my cousin sister in Delhi. Her husband has now turned slightly "kind" to give her "permission" to see her mom once in 4 months. Anyway, she has a choice she doesn't want to take. So "Falling" has an important place to let the fears and terror of women to fall away. I went to the Southbank Centre on Friday last week, and attended "African Utopia" debate. There was a panel of journalists of African descent debating how the West is so ignorant about Africa and how only about 20 or 30% of African population has access to Internet. Therefore, I wanted to ask you, if Betty may be interested in having this poem published on Global Poetry site? (the copyrights remain with the authors, GP doesn't hold any copyrights to others' works) I believe this will be a very important voice for African women, and women in general.’ FEMRITE used falling as a table tent that was marketed in restaurants, hotels, bars schools to promote the literally week of activities from 9th – 13th July 2012. Beatrice Lamwaka and Barbra Oketta used it with students of Jane Francis Secondary school in Masaka during their school visit where it was discussed and recited on 28th July 2012. My friend Cathy, a professor of literature at a university in Kuwait has promised to share the poem with her students! For a small poem that began at a kitchen sink to travel these vast distances and find use and meaning to different people in a small period of time, is quite a profound experience for me! It is like a mother watching her child grow and accomplish his dreams. I am extremely delighted and encouraged by the BN Award. Thank you so much for giving a forum for the inner voices of Ugandan women to be heard! Congratulations Beverley for this great effort!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

East African Poetry Anthology

Hello, The BN Poetry Foundation is compiling poems from poets of East Africa for an anthology which will come out in 2013. This has been due to the generous contribution of Prince Claus Foundation. We kindly request you to send up to a maximum of three original poems in English or in a local language with the English translation, from which one or two will be selected. The winners of the BN Poetry Award from 2009 to 2012, will have their winning poems published and they may submit another for consideration if they so please.
Bulago Island, Uganda The theme is open and submissions will be accepted from 1st August 2012 to 1st November 2012. The copyright of these poems will belong to the poets. At the moment, there are consultations with various publishing houses and once a selection has been made, you will be notified. Payment will be made once a publishing house has been identified. Kindly submit poems to, as Microsoft word attachments in Times New Roman size 12, include your name, email and phone contacts and nationality. We will not be able to acknowledge receipt of submission and only those whose poems have been selected will be notified due to the large number of submissions. This does not mean that we do not appreciate you for taking part in this process. Poets must be from either Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda Tanzania, South Sudan or Uganda. For details on what the BN Poetry Foundation does, visit Kind Regards,\ Beverley Nambozo, for BN Poetry Foundation

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


On 10 July 2012, Susan Piwang and I were invited to UBC-TV to talk about the prize, the future of the award and, you know, let people submit their own poems next year. Susan's poem, The Music Man, won the 2012 award and amongst the fabulous prizes, she will also be travelling to the Storymoja Hay Festival in Nairobi in September with the other two winners. She said that she would definitely encourage other poets to submit their poems because well, who knows what direction art will take.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Susan Piwang (above), the winner receiving her prize.
Paula Biraaro, second winner receiving her prize.
Betty Kituyi, third winner, receiving her prize.
Rehema Nanfuka, fourth winner receiving her prize.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Winner is Susan Piwang with The Music Man

The Music Man An old man sits by the street corner Cradling an old guitar in his weathered hands. His calloused fingertips skim over the strings His leathery palms cup its wooden base. Between the two, man and instrument I cannot tell which one is older. His eyes are closed in reflection His guitar is silent in anticipation Meanwhile, the world waits in silence Birds soar in the sky The leaves whisper in the wind And the people keep rushing by. And then he plays. His fingers race over the frets The guitar vibrates rebelliously He hums It thrums Between the two I cannot tell Which one is in charge of the music. The music! It stops the pulsation of my heart It burns the deepest corners of my soul It breaks the barriers within And shatters the silence without Earth is trapped in a sphere of symphonies Life is paused in a glass of rhapsody All is well within that moment of eternity While he plays. His voice is deep and rich His tune is strong and thick His heart is bleeding through the notes His life is breaking amidst the tones And I am pulled along Breaking and bleeding with his song. And then he stops. The spell is undone. All is as it was. Nothing outside the ordinary And once again he is an old man Seated by the corner Cradling a guitar (Which one, I wonder, is older?) His eyes are closed in reflection His guitar is silent in satisfaction The birds still soar in the sky Silence hushes the rustling leaves And the people keep rushing by. THE MUSIC MAN! WINNER OF THE FOURTH BN POETRY AWARD, 2012. This poem, The Music Man, was written by Susan Piwang and emerged first in the fourth BN Poetry Award. The judges agreed that it was strong, beautiful, transporting readers to a new place. Susan Piwang wins 500 USD, a fully paid trip to the Literary Storymoja Hay Festival in Nairobi in September 2012, an autographed copy of Half of a Yellow Sun, by award-winning author, Chimamanda Adichie and an autographed copy of Eliyeena’s Sorbonne-a novel infused with poetry, by Hannah Saint C.A Nanyanzi. The award was proudly sponsored by Stichting Doen. June 29 2012

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


This is it! We are counting down One two three days to go and we will find out who the winner of the 4th BN Poetry Award is. The theme this year was Music and from close to 100 submissions, the judges played their part. One of the judges, Mildred Barya is a poet with three published collections. Men Love Chocolates but they don’t say, her first , the next is Life After the Tsunami and her third is Give me Room to Move my Feet.Mildred is also a recent graduate of Creative Writing from Syracuse university, NY. Mildred Barya. The second judge, Apuuuli Mugasa is the President of the Literary Association of Uganda and is judging for the third year now. He said that the theme, Music is more poet-friendly. Many thanks for all their hard work. Apuuli Mugasa in center. Photo courtesy of Eduavella Edwin.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Where is Africa's Great novel?

Seriously? Is this even a question? hmmm.
International Public Dialogue on Writing and Publishing Organised by African Writers Trust in partnership with DOEN Foundation and British Council the event will bring together publishers, writers, literary activists, students, teachers and book lovers from Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and the United Kingdom. The discussion will focus on the broad theme: Where is the Great African Novel? The debate will further examine some of the contemporary literary trends in writing today and new perspectives on publishing. It will address questions about the future of African writing, the role of literary prizes for African writers, the changing patterns in international publishing and what books the west wants and expects from African writers. Chaired by Deputy Editor of the international literary magazine Granta (UK) and Deputy Editor Chair of the Caine Prize Council, Ellah Allfrey, the panel will comprise some of Uganda’s leading writers Doreen Baingana and Prof. Timothy Wangusa, and editor and writer Billy Kahora from Kenya. This is a free event. Venue: Fairway Hotel, Kampala Date: 31st May, 2012 Time: 5-7pm For further information contact Goretti Kyomuhendo Director African Writers Trust Tel. +256(0) 783 170 137 Email: Website:

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Poem in honour of Ms. Cox , long serving Gayaza High School H.M

For Miss Cox; Following the breadcrumbs of your loyalty (read by Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva: Gayaza 1991 - 1994)
We followed the breadcrumbs of your loyalty, from England Where stories of your generous heart filled the empty baskets Being held by girls, all the way to Uganda. We followed your breadcrumbs when we lost our way, wandering Into traps laid by the enemies of education. We held onto your wisdom When we almost drowned in the hypocrisy of humanity. You gave us a song when singing was all we had left. You showed us how to run when our feet were dressed in pain. You led us to believe when faith was never the same. Frail yet strong our hope became truth, Now we are women. Now we can say, Thank you Asante Afoyo. Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva Read during the funeral service of Ms. Cox at Namirembe Cathedral Kampala, Uganda, May 2012

Monday, May 7, 2012

My poem for Jajja Daddy (Prof. Senteza Kajubi)

Prof. Kajubi with his sister-in-law, Jajja Julie, Bev and Zion with Emma standing.December 2011 For Jajja Daddy They say educationists never die because that is what you were to many. I say, Jajjas never die because that is what you were to me. They say death has robbed this nation of a great man. I say, death has given me the strength to live like you did. They say you left a big gap in their hearts. I say, my heart has been filled with the need to go on. (c) Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

two fabulous poems, Dickinson and Dylan Thomas

I’m nobody who are you? By Emily Dickinson I'm nobody! Who are you? Are you nobody, too? Then there's a pair of us -don't tell! They'd banish us, you know. How dreary to be somebody! How public, like a frog To tell your name the livelong day To an admiring bog!
Do not go gentle into that goodnight by Dylan Thomas Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Though wise men at their end know dark is right, Because their words had forked no lightning they Do not go gentle into that good night. Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight, And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way, Do not go gentle into that good night. Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light. And you, my father, there on the sad height, Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray. Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

when poetry 'kicks' you in the butt

Poetry has done nothing but make me broke. Since I am not Jesus, I expected something more than just an eternal reward of fulfillment and joy. I gave up everything 3 years ago to become a poet and help other poets get there too and what has happened? I am penniless.

Looking for answers...

I gave up good jobs, offers were thrown at me and I said no for the sake of a higher calling of poetry. Like the 12 Apostles, there are few of us in Uganda who have done this and we are all broke. Well, at least they have other jobs but me, I fundraise to people who say they appreciate art but they will not turn their wallets inside out for the cause.

I know, like KJ Kennedy said, in The Writers’ Handbook that it is not worth thirsting for poetic fame and John Keats also mentioned that the true gift is when you write without expecting a reward but since I am not Jesus, I need something more than that eternal gratification.
At this point, I have written the first page of my reflective journal of my Masters’. I needed to get that initial fright out of the way. I decided that since I am the Creator of the poetry, then I am also the Conqueror. Having read some past portfolios and essays from Lancaster University like Bill Greenwell’s and Geraldine’s journals, the best way t get it done is to write. We all want to write the first draft of a line in its most brilliant form but this hardly the case, it’s all about drafting and redrafting. Oh, and we also need to read as well. I think poets are the most resistant to learning and reading.
Sara Maitland says, “But writers need to read not just – not just to understand genre and form or to develop narrative strategies but in order to enrich their language and extend their knowledge and sensibility.”
So, during this phase when poetry is kicking me where it hurts most, I am reading and reading hard. The avant-garde poets, some of Africa’s most celebrated poets, I am reading about poetry and writing , interviews, articles and essays and it is all coming together now. As a starting writer, I felt poof, who needs to read poetry, it is all about my feelings and no one can or should write about how I feel but of course it is much more I have passed the stage of a first date to a settled down relationship with poetry, the point of marriage when I want a divorce, and then I remember why I feel in love and realize it’s worth sticking to.
This week Graham Mort is in Kampala doing a series of workshops and also conducting interviews to identify reasons why Ugandan books are not on the syllabus. I wish him the best because Uganda, while very receptive is also very slow in giving answers and solutions and then acting upon them because it is the same problem Graham found when he was here in 2001.
That is one of the reasons why I feel poetry is just kicking me in the butt. I don’t want a Nobel prize but I want to know it is not a fruitless journey. I may now have to go the way of those that play it ‘safe’ and apply for a job. Dear Poetry, I hope you’re listening.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

We are now the BN Poetry Foundation

We are now the BN Poetry Foundation because so much is going on. Let me begin by thanking Dr. Elizabeth Alexander from the US, a woman responsible for revolutionizing black women’s poetry in the US and also read a poem, Praise song of the day, at Barack Obama’s inauguration. She is donating books the foundation to support the poetry development workshops. How generous of her!!

professor Elizabeth Alexander, photo from

Why the name change from BN Poetry Award? Listen, we are doing so much more than awards. I got in touch with the lovely Kate Haines who is in touch with writers in various parts of East Africa and is building a vibrant network of writers and we will be working together during poetry youth camps, publication of anthologies and a new exciting project for 2013. Can’t wait.
Also, a new found fascination is poets from Southern Sudan, looking forward to a long-lasting collaboration from them as well. It’s all good.
Next year the award s targeting the greater East Africa-that is like waiting for the birth of triplets, like a triple blessing.
Thanks to the new partners, Zimba Afrika and Action for Peace and Conflict Transformation for believing in the vision of poetry.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Poetry during Black History Month

Yesterday 29th Feb, we poets met at Makerere University College of Engineering, Art and Design Technology in celebration of Black History Month. Thanks to FEMRITE, US Mission to Uganda and Makerere University. Programme packed with many rock stars in poetry, some veteran others fairly new. Like, hey! Professor Timothy Wangusa, still able to knock us off our feet with his poem Africanology.
1 Consequent upon the Extraordinary Colloquim
Of All-Africa Think Tank of Academic Associations
Concluded this historic day in the city of Abuja-
He has a magnetic field around him that makes poets listen in awe. Then someone I had never met before, Peninah Ninsiima, read Maya Angelou’s Phenomenal Woman, well done Peninah, you were indeed phenomenal. Jason nailed Margaret Walker’s For My People. Susan Kerunen, together with her brother giving us an Alur delight of music. I recited one of my new ones as well called Ssebo Gwe Wange! Which means Sir, you are mine, in Luganda. It is a Ugandan love poem. My tutor at Lancaster is all about me writing Luagnda phrases in my poetry so why not?

Some of the people who love poetry.

Poetry is different. It is special. It is so internal that you can’t be left the same even if you wanted. Poets would make the best preachers, the best doctors and best therapists because they are discerning and deep. I love being with poets, especially when they are good. It is like the aroma of the clouds when it is just about to rain.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Win an autographed copy of Chimamanda's Half of a Yellow Sun

The first 3 winners to this year's BN Poetry Award will win an autographed copy of Chimamanda's Half of a Yellow Sun. Submit your poems to this year's BN Poetry Award, whose theme is MUSIC. You just have to be a Ugandan woman residing in Uganda. Send a maximum of 3 poems on this theme of Music to More details above on the banner.Deadline is 18th May 2012. I've read the book and met the author....

Photo credit:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Poetry award website it up

Did I mention that the website is now up...go to and women, submit your poems, the theme is Music, deadline is 18th May. Check up at the banner for details..

This was a poetry training workshop at Rainbow International school last week. I loved it and so did the kids!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Remembering Okot p Bitek anthology (Previously published on madandcrazy blogspot)

'Remembering Okot p Bitek' Anthology: Call for Submissions
In celebration of Okot p Bitek’s life and achievements, we are inviting outstanding essays, reviews, scholarly articles, poems, short fiction and interviews directly and indirectly centering on Okot p Bitek's works and life. We are looking at the impact of Okot p Bitek at a personal level, socially, in literature, academically, historically, politically, culturally and how he was influenced in those ways.

This year on 20th, July, 2012 marks thirty years since Okot left us to the land of his ancestors. We are compiling this anthology to be published in July on the said theme of “Remembering Okot p Bitek”.

Word count: 500 - 3000 words (less for poetry where necessary)

Format: An attached Word doc/docx, times new roman, 12 point, double spaced.

Submissions: By email only to:
Deadline: April, 1st, 2012

As we continue to work on the project, we will keep in mind that the success of the project will be driven by both the quantity and quality of submissions. Tentatively, the anthology will be published by Kushinda in eBook format and distributed through Amazon’s Kindle format. We hope to publish the anthology in print later.

We will engage professional editors to review the submissions and give thumbs-up for the final selection for publication. As of now, the team putting together this project, in case of any communication, comprises of;

1. David Tumusiime – Lead coordinator and
2. Brian Bwesigye.

All ideas and volunteers are welcome in the spirit of celebrating Okot p Bitek, the man, his life and his work.

Monday, January 16, 2012


Submit your poetry to the 4th BN Poetry Award. This year’s theme is
• Ugandan women resident in Uganda and above 18 years can participate. Send up to a maximum of 3 previously unpublished poems to under the theme of Music.
• Poems should not be more than 40 lines long, typed in Times New Roman, single spaced and sent as one attachment. The second attachment should have the poet’s name, email address and phone number, along with the titles of poems. Do Not submit poems with your names on them.
• The first three will win an all-expenses paid trip to the Storymoja Hay Festival in Nairobi from 14 to 16 September 2012 and meet some of the movers and shakers of the literary world
• First cash prize, 500 US Dollars
• Second cash prize 300 US Dollars and
• Third cash prize 200 US Dollars
• Poetry journals for the first ten

The deadline for submissions is May 18 2012.
For more information, call +256 704355466.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The year 2012

This is going to be a great year, actually it has started out much better than I could have expected. I am way ahead with my Masters-yeiiiiiiiiiiii and this week I have met with 4 potential donors, yeii again. And another adorable miracle in March. Just so much to do this year and hope for. On a sad note, yesterday my uncle told me that John Wafula died. He was the CEO of Uganda Clays and he sowed the first financial seed into the BN Poetry Award, he was such a believer of great things, really great!!
I don’t even know how to write a tribute to him but I’ll remember him for that. He was also the chief organizer of Justice Ogoola’s book launch, Songs of Paradise in 2009. The man was a scientist and artist and mover.

In Heaven, he will be glad to know that the award is going stronger than ever and this year, the winners will travel to attend a Literature festival and meet literary agents as well.
By the end of the year, I should have a second manuscript of poetry ready for publishing. It feels good. I place all l this into the hands of the Great.
Wishing you a more than fabulous year.