The Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poetry—Apply (Prizes: $1000 +Book Deal)

Budding and professional poets are invited to submit their unpublished collections of poetry for consideration for The Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poetry. This prize is awarded annually to an African poet who hasn’t yet published a poetry collection.

The prize opened on the 15th of September, 2018 and will close on the 1st of December, 2018. A winner will be announced in early January, 2019.


Prize and Awards:

The overall winner will receive USD $1000

And a book deal. The winning collection of poems will be published by the prestigious  University of Nebraska Press and Amalion Press in Senegal.

Who Is Eligible For This Award?

  • African writers who have not published a book-length poetry collection. Self-published authors whose books were sold online, in stores, or at readings aren’t eligible. If you’ve edited and published an anthology or a similar collection of other writers’ work, you can apply.
  • An “African writer” in this context is someone who was born in Africa, who is a national or resident of an African country, or whose parents are African.
  • All poetry submissions must be in English language. The organizers will consider poetry submissions that have been translated from another language to English. However, the author will have to split the prize with the translator.


How to Apply:

  • Ensure that your poetry manuscript is at least 50 pages long.
  • The Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets is judged anonymously. The author’s name should not appear on the manuscript.. Please include a cover page listing only the title of the manuscript (not the author’s name, address, telephone number, or email address).
  • Submit your manuscript via the APBF submittable page.
  • Multiple submissions will be considered. If you have more than one collection, feel free to submit them for consideration.

The  prize will be judged by award-winning poets such as Kwame Dawes, Chris Abani, Matthew Shenoda, John Keene, Gabeba Baderoon, and Bernardine Evaristo.

In 2017, Zimbabwean poet, Bernard Matambo, won the award with his collection of poetry titled Stray.

This contest is being organized by the African Poetry Book Fund. They also publish poetry collections annually so you  might want to consider sending a query and book proposal. They might offer you a book deal.

Good luck,


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: