The African Poetry 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 winner receives USD $1000 and publication through with the University of Nebraska Press and Amalion Press in Senegal.
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.
An “African writer” is taken to mean someone who was born in Africa, who is a national or resident of an African country, or whose parents are African.
Only poetry written in English is eligible. Translated poetry 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 or Amalion Press, or current faculty, students, or employees at the University of Nebraska, are eligible for the prizes.
When to Send
Manuscripts are accepted annually between September 15 and December 1st.
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. You may submit more than one manuscript.
The Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets accepts electronic submissions ONLY. Click here or the button below to submit via Submittable.
The winner is announced early January on the African Poetry Book Fund website. Results will be emailed shortly thereafter.
The winner of the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets for 2013 is Clifton Gachagua for his manuscript Madman at Kilifi. He will receive a USD $1,000 prize and publication by the University of Nebraska Press and Amalion Press in Senegal. (Details)
Please send any questions to