Sawti Poetry Prize

Sawti Poetry Prize seeks entries from Eastern African poets.

Sawti Poetry Prize, to be judged by Safia Elhillo, Marwa Babiker, and Zuhura Seng’enge, seeks entries from poets from Eastern Africa written in Arabic, Kiswahili, or English.

Sawti, derived from the Arabic and Kiswahili for ‘my voice’, intends to connect East African artists to their counterparts in the diaspora through conversation and collaboration. The project aims to create art that positions itself within the long-standing traditions of language and locale within East Africa.

A vital part of the Sawti Project is the Sawti Poetry Prize which is open to poets born or are a national of the following East African countries: Tanzania, Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Somalia, Somaliland, Djibouti, Eritrea, Burundi, Mozambique, Madagascar, South Sudan, Malawi, Seychelles, Mauritius, Comoros, Réunion, and Mayotte. This also extends to poets whose parents are born or are a national of these countries.

Submissions for 3 poems for any (language) section of the prize are sought from poets resident in the above-mentioned countries. These may have been published before, though the prize is not open to poets who have published a full-length poetry collection (chapbooks not included).

The new prize will be judged by Safia Elhillo (English), Marwa Babiker (Arabic), and Zuhura Seng’enge (Kiswahili).


For more information about the award please click here. Your deadline is August 10, 2019.






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