Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poetry 2016

Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poetry 2016

Deadline: December 1, 2016

The Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poetry is awarded annually to an African poet who has not yet published a collection of poetry. The African Poetry Book Fund Editorial Board, including Kwame Dawes, Chris Abani, Matthew Shenoda, John Keene, Gabeba Baderoon, and Bernardine Evaristo, will judge. A winner will be announced in early January, with notifications sent shortly thereafter.


  • The winner receives USD $1000 and book publication through 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 submissions in English can be considered. 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 or Amalion Press, or current faculty, students, or employees at the University of Nebraska, are eligible for the prizes.

Application Process

  • Submit your application here;
  • No entry fee is required to submit to the contest;
  • 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, organizers suggest sending your manuscript in Times New Roman or Arial, 12 point font, single-spaced. They also prefer one poem per page, meaning a new poem does not begin on the same page on which another ends.

For more information, visit Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poetry 2016.