2022 PAWA poetry prize is masculine
University of Port Harcourt lecturer, award-winning poet and currently a Fellow at University of Oxford, United Kingdom, Dr. Obari Gomba, has emerged the best poet in the English-speaking part of Africa.
He won the Pan-African Writers Association’s (PAWA) poetry prize 2022 worth $2,000, announced in a virtual ceremony on March 3, 2022. Five Nigerian poets were also shortlisted alongside Gomba. He won with his collection, The Lilt Of The Rebel.
The other five Nigeria poets and their works shortlisted for the Pan-African Writers Association Poetry Prize 2022 include, Echezonachukwu Nduka (Chrysanthemum For Wide Eyed Ghosts), Tanure Ojaide (A Poetic Diary Of The Coronavirus Epidemic) Servio Gbadamosi (Where The Light Enters You) and Olumide Olaniyan (Akimbo In Limbo).
In the Arabic category that had Ashraf Aboul-Yazid (Egypt) and Fatima Bouhraka (Morocco) as judges, Abdul Monem Ramadan (Egypt) with his collection, Lover and Mohamed Naquib Mohamed Ali (Sudan) with his collection, The Cell Of The Wings emerged joint winners.
Other contenders were Miftah Al–Amari (People Of The Wind) and Nosaiba Atta Allah (Hosted by Godo).
In the French category that had Dr. Alain Serge Agnessan (Cote d’Ivoire), Eric Bekale (Gabon) and Ketline Adodo (Togo) as judges, Sékou Chérif Haidara (Guinea) with his collection, Cahier de vertiges, was the winner. Other contenders were Ernest Koffiga Kavege (Demain, La Plenitude), Danielle Gonai (Mosaique), , Fatoumata Keita (Ce n’est jamais fini), Abdoulaye Seck (Délices de l’âme et coeur), and Kossi Sena Adufu (Des profondeurs de la vie) as the poets vying for the top prize.
The masculine nature of the finalists for the English-speaking poets made the lead judge, Maureen Isaacson to remark about the absence of female poets particularly in Nigeria and on the continent. She gave a subtle charge of encouragement to the womenfolk who were writing poetry on the continent to up their ante.