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Obari Gomba wins 2022 PAWA Poetry Prize


Tony Okuyeme

Award-winning poet and Professor of English at the University of Port Harcourt, Obari Gomba, has won the 2022 Pan African Writers Association (PAWA) poetry prize.
He won the prize, worth $2,000, with his collection of poems, ‘The Lilt Of The Rebel’.

Gomba, who is currently fellow at the University of Oxford, was announced as the winner in a virtual ceremony held on Thursday, 3 March 2022. He won the covetted prize after beating other five shortlisted poets.

The shortlisted poets included 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).

‘Lilt Of The Rebel’ “is a rich collection of 108 poems on diverse human issues. Gomba’s poetry is bold, candid and unafraid of controversy. In poem after poem, his aesthetics is surefooted of a poet who has earned his place as one of the best across generations.”

Ghe lead judge, Maureen Isaacson, decried the absence of female poets on the continent, particularly in Nigeria. She then urged female poets on the continent to up their ante.

Meanwhile, 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 In the Arabic category that had Ashraf Aboul-Yazid (Egypt) and Fatima Bouhraka (Morocco) as judges.

Other contenders include Miftah Al–Amari (People Of The Wind) and Nosaiba Atta Allah (Hosted by Godo).

Sékou Chérif Haidara (Guinea) with his collection, Cahier de vertiges  emerged the winner in the French category that had Dr. Alain Serge Agnessan (Cote d’Ivoire), Eric Bekale (Gabon), and Ketline Adodo (Togo) as judges.

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).

Bashiru Abdallah with his collection, ‘Wino Was Dhahabu’ won in the Kiswahili category that had Dr. Hamisi Babusa (Kenya) and Esther Karin Mngodo (Tanzania) as judges,’’ Other contenders in Swahili included Ali Mohammed (Kilio Cha Sisimizi), Djibril Adamu (Kipeto Cha Risala), and Rashid Othman Ali (Mapinduzi Ya Kalamu).

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