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: