Abu Bakr Sadiq

Abu Bakr Sadiq is Sillerman First Book Prize 2023 winner.

Abu Bakr Sadiq’s poetry collection Leaked Footages was named the winner of the Sillerman First Book Prize 2023 on Friday, July 28, 2023.

The Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poetry is awarded annually to an African who has not yet published a full collection of poetry. The prize, named after benefactors Laura and Robert F. X. Sillerman, gives prize money of USD $1000 to the winner. They also get their collection published by the University of Nebraska Press and Amalion Press in Senegal. Some of the previous winners have been Clifton Gachagua (2014), Ladan Osman (2015), Mahtem Shiferraw (2016), Safia Elhillo (2017), Tjawangwa Dema (2018), Gbenga Adeoba (2019), Cheswayo Mphanza (2020), Sherry Shenoda (2021), and Tares Oburumu (2022).

The judging panel for this year consisted of the African Poetry Book Fund’s Editorial Board, including Chris Abani, Gabeba Baderoon, Bernadine Evaristo, Aracelis Girmay, John Keene, Matthew Shenoda, and Phillippa Yaa de Villiers, with Kwame Dawes, Director of the African Poetry Book Fund and the Schooner’s Editor-in-Chief. The jury announced the finalists for this year’s awards as;

  • Tresspass, Jamila Osman (Somalia)
  • Year of Blood, Adedayo Agarau (Nigeria)
  • Leaked Footages, Abu Bakr Sadiq (Nigeria)
  • Talons, Gracia Mwamba (Congo)

From these, the winner was declared to be Abu Bakr Sadiq’s Leaked Footages. Award-winning author and translator John Keene praised “Leaked Footages,” writing that the manuscript’s “Afrofuturist, speculative approach, conveyed by a Nigerian Muslim speaker, feels refreshing and suggests a distinctive, compelling perspective.

Abu Bakr Sadiq is a Nigerian poet born and raised in Minna. He is currently an undergraduate student at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. His work has been published in Boston Review, The Fiddlehead, MIZNA, FIYAH, Palette Poetry, Uncanny Magazine, Augur Magazine, Fantasy Magazine, and elsewhere.

On winning Sadiq tweeted, “My first poetry collection Leaked Footages has won the Sillerman Prize. Unbelievable but yes!!!! Alhamdulillah. 🤯😭 This here is a dream come true. Truckloads of gratitude to everyone who helped me put this baby together. No way this could have happened without y’all.  💞❤️‍🔥🙏🏾”



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