Nigerian wins Brunel African poetry prize

A Nigerian poet, Theresa Lola. {Photo credit: Medium]
A Nigerian poet, Theresa Lola. {Photo credit: Medium]

A Nigerian poet, Theresa Lola, has been named joint winner of the prestigious 2018 Brunel International African Poetry Prize.

Theresa fought off stiff competition from over 1000 other international entrants to be awarded one of the three top prizes of £1000.

Launched in 2012 by Brunel University London and judged by a panel of writers and academics, the award aims at providing a platform for Africa’s finest unpublished poets.

The Prize is open to poets who were born in Africa, who are nationals of an African country, or whose parents are African.

To encourage only serious entrants, organisers ask that poets each submit a pamphlet of their best 10 pieces of work.

“Winning the Brunel International African Poetry Prize feels surreal, it is an unwavering highlight,” said Theresa, who shared the joint prize with Hiwot Adilow from Ethiopia, and Momtaza Mehri from Somalia.

“I started writing after being inspired by Nigerian poets I saw during a school trip to the Lagos Poetry Festival when I was 12 years old, so to win the Brunel International African Poetry Prize feels like I am doing my job and responsibility as a poet and human in putting Africa forward where it rightly belongs.”

Now a resident of the UK, Theresa first started writing whilst still at school in Nigeria, encouraged by a teacher who recognised her love for writing.

“Going through the awkward teenage reclusive phase, I wanted to document everything I was observing and started writing what I now knew as poetry,” said Theresa, who is now working on a full collection.

“I was inspired by the way poets articulated and condensed heavy stories and knew poetry was the mode of writing I needed.”

Theresa hopes that winning the Brunel International African Poetry Prize will open doors that would otherwise be closed, and help her achieve her goal of doing work that benefits the poetry community.

“As a poet it has definitely bolstered my confidence, and of course sheds more light on the possibility of a poetry career,” she said.

Unlike last year’s shortlist that had four Nigerians on it, the 2018 shortlist has more poets from different African countries including Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Somalia, Egypt, Zambia and two poets from Nigeria.

The Prize is funded by the Commonwealth Writers of the Commonwealth Foundation.

Last year’s winner was Nigerian poet, Romeo Oriogun.

Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility


Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.

For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.


NEVER MISS A THING AGAIN! Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required


Now available on

  Premium Times Android mobile applicationPremium Times iOS mobile applicationPremium Times blackberry mobile applicationPremium Times windows mobile application

TEXT AD: This space is available for a Text_Ad.. Call Willie on +2347088095401 for more information

All rights reserved. This material and any other material on this platform may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, written or distributed in full or in part, without written permission from PREMIUM TIMES.