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A call for submissions to Anthology of Contemporary African Poetry

A rethink of the ways African verse

31 March 2022 - 11:25 By Precious Okpechi
Submissions for the fifth volume of Africa 20.35's poetry anthology are now open.
Submissions for the fifth volume of Africa 20.35's poetry anthology are now open.
Image: Supplied

Since its inception in 2017, the 20.35 Africa collective has annually published an electronic Anthology of Contemporary African Poetry. This anthology has sought, over the years, to reshape the existing view of what African poetry entails; to usher a rethink of the ways African poetry, like poetry from other regions of the world, uses language to portray the experiences and thoughts of the poets — a creative outline of how they view and interact with their internal self, their immediate environment and the world at large. The anthology series seeks to canonise African poetry, a project Phillipa Yaa de Villiers describes as “serious, strident, playful — a promising, powerful clutch from the next generation of greats”.

In its mission to be a resource institution for African poetry 20.35 Africa established two projects: the “Conversations” series and the “New Poets” series which assists further in giving visibility to living African poets and infusing new understanding into existing interpretations of African poetry.

Over the years, the anthology series has featured works both from poets living in the continent and in the diaspora, prominent and emerging voices in the scene, including Saddiq Dzukogi, Victoria Adukwei Bulley, JK Anowe, Megan Ross, Dalia Elhassan, Clifton Gachagua, Hiwot Adilow, Akosua Zimba-Afiriyie Hwedie, Nour Kamel, Rabha Ashry and Ernest Ogunyemi.

The fifth volume will be guest-edited by Sara Elkamel and Chibuihe Obi alongside the collective’s editors Ebenezer Agu, I.S. Jones, and Precious Okpechi.

Sara Elkamel is a poet and journalist living between Cairo and New York City. She holds an MA in arts journalism from Columbia University and an MFA in poetry from New York University. Her poems have appeared in Poetry Magazine, The Yale Review, MQR, Four Way Review, The Cincinnati Review, The Adroit Journal, Poet Lore, Poetry London, Best New Poets 2020, Best of the Net 2020, among others. She is the author of the chapbook Field of No Justice (African Poetry Book Fund & Akashic Books, 2021).

Chibuihe Obi Achimba grew up in south-eastern Nigeria. He is a poet, essayist, and founding editor of Dgëku Magazine. He served as the 2019 Harvard University Scholar At-Risk Fellow, a Visiting Poet in its English department, and the 2020 Summer Visiting Artist at the Oregon Institute for Creative Research. Chibuihe has been awarded grants by PEN America, PEN International, Freedom House, and St Botolph Club Foundation, which named him one of the 2021 Emerging Artists in New England. His writing has been published or forthcoming in The New York Times, The Paris Review, The Harvard Review, Poet Lore, Foreign Policy Magazine, Guernica Magazine, and several other prints and online journals. In August 2021, he was appointed to the editorial board of Transition Magazine at the Hutchins Center, Harvard. He is completing an MFA degree in Poetry at Brown University.

 

Submission Guidelines

  1. The anthology is open to African poets who are between the ages of 20 (or who would be 20 by the time of publication) and 35.
  2. Contributors published in the fourth volume are not eligible for this volume, but may submit for subsequent volumes.
  3. Submissions can cut across different themes and each contributor may send three poems only. Please send us your best poems, properly edited.
  4. The anthology is only for African poets. We define an African poet as someone born in Africa, or whose parents (at least one) are African, or someone who lives in Africa and has done so for at least 10 years.
  5. Poets who have had a full-length book or a chapbook or pamphlet published in electronic or print format can submit. Poets who have not been published in any form or on any literary forum/outlet, and fall into the acceptable age bracket, are encouraged to submit as well.
  6. Only poems written in English will be accepted. Works translated into English from any African language may be submitted, but they must be accompanied by their original.
  7. There is no stipulation as to the content of submitted poems but no poem should exceed 40 lines in length.
  8. Identifying information, including names of poets, addresses, phone numbers, publication histories, should not be included in the manuscript or in the body of the email. Submit through your personal email address and include the same email address on the last page of your manuscript. Submissions will be judged solely on merit.
  9. We accept simultaneous submissions, but please notify us immediately if any of your poems is accepted elsewhere.
  10. All entries must be submitted in a single Word document, typed in Times New Roman, font 12, single spaced, and sent via email to the 20.35 Africa Team at submissions@2035africa.org.
  11. The email subject should read “20.35 Africa submission”.
  12. Submissions must be written in black ink. No colours.
  13. Each poem must have a title.
  14. Poems must be the original work of the contributor.
  15. Deadline for submissions is midnight (UTC+01:00) of April 24 2022.
  16. We hope to respond to every submission by July 2022. However, there may be delays in response time pending the editors’ final decision.
  17. We will not entertain any inquiries concerning submission status until after July 2022.
  18. Accepted contributors must be available at all times, for necessary editing of their works and correspondence that may follow.
  19. All inquiries must be sent to info@2035africa.org. Inquiries sent to the submissions email address will not be read.
  20. Except on proven cases of plagiarism or when a piece we have published violates any form of human rights, we do not take down works once they have been published in our anthology or on our website.
  21. By submitting your work to us, you agree to give us first serial rights of said work, which shall revert to you upon publication. If your work is republished elsewhere, acknowledge that it first appeared on 20.35 Africa.

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