Brighton Festival artist Theresa Lola wins African Poetry Prize


Brighton Festival artist Theresa Lola has won a prestigious Brunel International African Poetry Prize, scooping a major prize of £3,000 aimed at the development, celebration and promotion of poetry from Africa.

Of over 1000 entries, Theresa was one of three artists to emerge as winners, which is in keeping with the prize’s idea of supporting multiple voices from Africa. Hiwot Adilow (Ethiopia), Momtaza Mehri (Somalia) were the other recipients of the admired prize.

Despite already having two poetry awards to her name, including the Hammer and Tongue National Poetry Slam in 2017 and the London Magazine Poetry prize in 2016, this one felt just as special, as she said:

“Winning the Brunel International African Poetry Prize feels surreal, it is an unwavering highlight. 

“To win the Brunel International African Poetry Prize feels like I am doing my job and responsibility as a poet and human in putting Africa forward where it rightly belongs.”

Brunel University London, the prize sponsor, stated: “This is an incredibly exciting time in the development of African poetry. Many of them are still very young, in their twenties, and we expect great things from them, but also those from poets who are older but still relatively new to publishing poetry. African poetry is now staking its claim on the global literary landscape. We are witnessing a quiet revolution.”

Theresa, who was first inspired to start writing poetry after a trip to the Lagos Poetry Festival when she was 12, will now be appearing at Brighton festival as part of World Premiere & Brighton Festival Commission, Poets & Illustrators on Sat 26 May, alongside Hollie McNish, Bridget Minamore and Toby Campion.

Join them for a night of straight-talking poetry, projection and experimental art exploring the theme ‘hard work’, a subject inspired by Guest Director David Shrigley’s book of the same title.

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