Tuesday, September 1, 2015


On Friday 28 August,  at the close of the three day first ever poetry festival in Uganda, Professor Remi Raji, Babishai Poetry board member and President of Association of Nigerian Authors, announces Adeeko Ibukun from Nigeria,  the overall winner of the #Babishai2015 Poetry prize.  From over 2,000 poems, the judges, Professor Antjie Prog, Mildred Barya and Richard Ali, selected a long-list of 45 and then a shortlist of 15, whose poems can be read here. http://www.bnpoetryaward.co.ug/download/bnpa_2015_shortlist.pdf.

Adeeko Ibukun won for his poem, A Room With A Drowning Book, which the judges agreed unanimously, was befitting. Professor Antjie Grog says of the winning poem,
“The winning poem is a good example of a very sophisticated way of presenting
content: the choice of a two line stanza creates a sense of simplicity, this is strengthened by the use of a sesure (a kind of pause due to the comma or fullstop in the middle of a line) creating a calm atmosphere.”

In second place was Sheila Okongo Omare Nyanduaki from Kenya, for her poem, The Ghost of Jevanjee and in third place was Nick Makoha from Uganda, for his poem, LHR. In 4th place was Famia Nkansa from Ghana for her poem, Elixir and in 5th was Arinze Ifeakandu for his poem, Like Scented Mangoes.
The overall winner receives 1,000 USD and the top five will receive autographed copies of anthologies and collections namely A Thousand Voices Rising, Boda Boda Anthem and Other Poems, A Nation in Labour by Harriet Anena and copies of Professor Raji’s poetry collections. All the fifteen shortlisted poets will participate in poetry mentorship programs beginning the end of 2015. They will each attend poetry and literary festivals around the continent too.

The #Babishai2016 Poetry festival takes place from 24 to 26 August at The Uganda Museum and from June 10 to 13 in 2016, we’ll be experiencing a Babishai Poetry On the Mountains of The Moon in Kasese, Uganda. Next year’s call for poetry submissions will begin in January 2016.

You may read the winning poem here:

A ROOM WITH A DROWNING BOOK  by Adeeko Ibukun (Nigeria)

Somewhere in the room a book is drowning, the floor
is shivering with pages. You said the spine is the balance

to our two winged hearts. Sometimes it’s the light knitting
its letters to our hearts. I see how things hold us in their lights

so we aren’t here or there like you’re here and somewhere
a lover holds you in her heart, light in water teaching these lessons.

Sometimes something holds clearly what we couldn’t say in words.
We face it to learn our silence and that again becomes part of

our languages. Places own us like this, light bounces off them,
turning their spears at me. Our hearts beat now and vision takes

its shapes—the stream of consciousness, nuances as water turn,
streamlet as novella lost in our undercurrent.  I’m lost in a story now

or a story’s lost in me. Perhaps we should hang on words so that
we do not drown. Remembering makes living its anchor. So I asked

if it’s us you wanted to save insisting everything  is placed this way
and that way of our anniversaries, each moment  achieved  as light

buried in water—so it’s here or there, past or present, our chairs and tables,
dresser and records becoming the dykes. The mirror’s at an angle

to the world so it does not yield all its light at once. Everything’s our
subject before we become their subject, relying on memories to endure.


The Babishai Poetry Team.

Tel:  +256 751 703226
Twitter: @BNPoetryAward

1 comment:

  1. Here's the link for the article i wrote about the BN Poetry Awards 2015.