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The Sillerman Prize for Poetry/ How to Apply (Prize: $1000 + Publication)

The Sillerman Prize is a poetry award for African poets which is awarded every year, with submissions open between September 15th and December 1st. It is open for 2023.

The African Poetry Book Series is made possible through the generosity of philanthropists Laura and Robert F. X. Sillerman, whose generous contributions have facilitated the establishment of the APBF.  In recognition of their invaluable support of our work, Mr. and Mrs. Sillerman have welcomed the use of their name for the First Book Prize for African Poets.

The prize is awarded to any poet who has not yet published a collection of poetry. A winner will be announced in early January, with notifications sent shortly thereafter.


Eligibility for the Sillerman Prize for poetry

  • The Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets will only accept “first book” submissions from African writers who have not published a book-length poetry collection.
  • This includes self-published books if they were sold online, in stores, or at readings.
  • Writers who have edited and published an anthology or a similar collection of other writers’ work remain eligible.
  • Only one who was born in Africa, and who is a national or resident of an African country, or whose parents are African can apply.
  • Poetry submissions will only be accepted in English. Work translated from another language to English is accepted, but a percentage of the prize will be awarded to the translator.
  • No past or present paid employees of the University of Nebraska Press, Akashic Books, or Amalion Press, or current faculty, students, or employees at the University of Nebraska, are eligible for the prizes.
  • Manuscripts are accepted annually between September 15th and December 1st.
  • No entry fee is required to submit to the contest


The sillerman prize 2023

How to submit 

  • Poetry manuscripts should be at least 50 pages long.
  • The author’s name should not appear on the manuscript. All entries will be read anonymously.
  • Please include a cover page listing only the title of the manuscript (not the author’s name, address, telephone number, or email address).
  • An acknowledgements page listing the publication history of individual poems may be included, if desired.
  • No application forms are necessary. Eligible writers may submit more than one manuscript.
  • While they have no specific formatting rules, they suggest sending your manuscript in Times New Roman or Arial, 12 point font, single-spaced.
  •  Also, it is preferable to send one poem per page, meaning a new poem does not begin on the same page on the previous.
  • The Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets accepts electronic submissions ONLY. Make submissions via Submittable.



  • The winner receives USD $1000 and book publication through the University of Nebraska Press and Amalion in Senegal.

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