African Poetry Book Fund

Kwame Dawes, Guggenheim Fellow and winner of the 2011 Barnes & Noble
Writers for Writers Award, is excited to announce the establishment of the
African Poetry Book Series. Beginning in January 2014, the imprint will publish
four new titles by African poets each year. In addition the Series will publish
every few years an anthology representing African regions, themes and ideas. Of
the four books published annually, one will be a winner of the Sillerman
African First Book Prize for African Poets, and another will be a new and
selected volume by a major African poet. The winner of the prize will also
receive a $1000 cash prize and publication with the University of Nebraska
Press and Amalion Publishing in Senegal.

Ghanaian poet, Kofi Awoonor, has signed up to be the first major African poet
to be part of the Series. His new and selected poems with an introduction by
fellow poet and scholar, Kofi Anyidoho, will be published in 2014 by the
African Poetry Book Series along with three other titles.

The Series has been made possible through seed funding from philanthropists,
Laura and Robert F. X. Sillerman, whose generous contributions have facilitated
the establishment of the African Poetry Book Fund. Mr. and Mrs. Sillerman have
also welcomed the use of their name for the First Book Prize for African poets,
the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets, which will be part of the

The African Poetry Book Series will be the major feature of the work of the
African Poetry Book Fund, established this year under Dawes’ leadership through
the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. An Advisory Board has been established to
support and guide the work of the African Poetry Book Fund. Confirmed members
of the Fund’s Advisory Board include Laura Sillerman, Elizabeth Alexander,
Sulaiman Adebowale, Russell Goings, Peter Rorvik, Ellah Allfrey and Glenna

Under the auspices of the Fund, one of its key facets will be the establishment
of an additional prize for poetry, the Brunel University African Poetry Prize,
awarded for a portfolio of poems by an African poet. Spearheaded by poet and
novelist Bernardine Evaristo, the Brunel University African Poetry Prize will
offer a cash award for the winning entries and publication in key international
literary journals. Evaristo will also serve on the Editorial Board of the

A collaborative venture, the African Poetry Book Fund will oversee the
publication of the Series which will be co-published by the University of
Nebraska Press in the US and Amalion Publishing in Senegal, led by publisher
Sulaiman Adebowale. The literary journal Prairie Schooner will be a key partner
in this project offering administrative support and the management of the
annual First Book Prize. Open Road Media, a dynamic digital publisher and
multimedia company led by publishing powerhouse Jane Friedman, will be handling
the digital and e-book side of the African Poetry Book Series. Finally, Blue
Flower Arts, a leading arts booking agency for some of the best contemporary
writers, has offered to represent the Series and its authors.

The African Poetry Fund will, through the Series and other projects, promote
the writing and publication of African poetry through an international complex
of additional collaborations and partnerships. The Fund and its partners will
offer support for seminars, workshops and other publishing opportunities for
African poets.

Six gifted and internationally regarded poets will serve as the Editorial Board
for the Series. Ghanaian-born poet Kwame Dawes is the founding Series Editor.
Also serving on the editorial board are: the South African poet Gabeba
Baderoon, the American novelist John Keene, the Nigerian poet and novelist
Chris Abani, the Egyptian-American poet Matthew Shenoda and Bernardine
Evaristo, award-winning novelist and poet from the UK.

Make sure to stay tuned to Prairie Schooner’s website, blog, Facebook and
Twitter for further projects of this enterprising Series.


The Editorial Board

James Redd

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