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UK: Zimbabwean poet shortlisted for top Africa award

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By Sharleen Mohammed

TALENTED Zimbabwean writer Zibusiso Mpofu has been shortlisted the Brunel International African Poetry award.

Mpofu joins six other shortlisted poets for a prize which has been backed by Brunel University London since 2012.

Mpofu a graduate of Film and Television from Zhejiang University of Media in Hangzhou, China, fell in love with the written word at a young age and often found himself lost in the universes created in the books he read.

This year’s judges said they had a rich and crop of collections to select their shortlist from featuring themes such as families, the body and history, but the bunch seem to contain a lot of sadness.  

“Many strike a deeply melancholic note, and even a sense of mourning,” they said. “But they are alive to the currents of history and the way poetry’s memorial practices animate the raw intimacy between the seen and unseen.”

“It is fitting that after a decade of the Brunel International African Poetry Prize, we find here African voices liberated from prescriptions of form and ideas”, judges added. 

Prof  Evaristo, who teaches creative writing at Brunel and has worked with with the US-based African Poetry Book Fund since she founded the African Poetry Prize said: “I am so pleased that they have agreed to take it on and ensure its future.”

“Every year the standard of entries for the Prize continues to rise and this year is no exception, with a scintillating array of talent and voices. This and other initiatives have caused a major sea change in the spread and fortunes of African poetry around the world.”

The Brunel International African Prize is organised by the Poetry Book Society, which was founded by Eliot in 1953.

The 2022 finalists are: Chisom Okafor, a 28-year-old Nigerian poetFellow Nigerian Adedayo Agarau, Workshop; Fahad Al-Amoudi, a poet Zimbabwean writer and entrepreneur Zibusiso Mpofu, Edil Hassan, a Somali-American, Bristol-based Somali artist and poet, Asmaa Jama.

The winner will be announced on May 2.