Aisha Nelson and Edzordzi Agbozo have won the first and second positions respectively in the maiden Harmattan Poetry Contest. The other positions are: 3rd Position, Andy Aryeetey, 4th Position, Kumankoma Sarpong, and 5th Position, Selorm M. Agbozo. Aisha and Edzordzi pick up GH₵150 gift certificate at EPP Books, Accra and GH₵ 75 gift certificate at EPP Books, Accra respectively, as prizes.
The contest was opened to all writers, in all parts of the world, with a connection to Ghana. Each poet was allowed to send in three entries from November 1 to December 15, 2014. The long-list, consisting of the best eleven poems, was announced on January 11, 2015 on the magazine’s website; www.akwantuo.org and on Writers Project of Ghana’s literary programme on Citi 96.7 fm in Accra. The long-list consisted of Agbozo, Edzordzi: Clan-root’s Demise; Agbozo, Selorm M.: Another Sunset; Aryeetey, Andy: When the War Came to Ghana; Botchway, J.N.A.: Oh Africa!; Kpeglah, Emmanuel: A Song to Rawlings; Kumankoma, Sarpong: And Age Wrote….; Muhammeed, Lambon Salifu: Africa, They Mock You! ; Nartey, Jonathan: Swindled Country; Nelson, Aisha: Stag-Nation; Nunekpeku, Frederick E.: My Love; and Saint George, William: Our Brother Fell Back Home This Morning.
The contest is organised by Akwantuo Writing, the literary magazine of Ghanaian writing based in Accra, Ghana and Johannesburg, South Africa with the aim to promoting Ghanaian literary community through providing a platform to publish and expose Ghanaian authors to the local and international audience, and organising creative writing workshops to improve the skills of writers. It was founded by Emily Bowers, a Scottish writer and literary curator.
The first prize winner, Aisha Nelson (aka Sheilla Aishetu Nelson), is currently an English Language and Literature teacher at the Alpha Beta Christian College, a CIE curriculum school in Accra, Ghana. After a combined major degree in English and Psychology, she did her National Service as a Teaching Assistant at the Department of English of the University of Ghana, Legon. Her poem, Revolt, was shortlisted in the Ghana Poetry Foundation’s 2012 Political Poetry Competition. Several of her works have been published, featured, and performed in various outlets including two Ghanaian newspapers, The Mirror and The Weekend Globe; and more recently, OneGhanaOneVoice (2013), the Kalahari Review (2013), the Minyori Journal (2014), and Prairie Schooner, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA (2014). She has also performed at various academic, literary and religious functions, and on radio. She has also written and directed a few Christian plays and is now working on a novel.
The second prize winner, Edzordzi Agbozo (aka Gabriel Edzordzi Agbozo), is currently a graduate student. He holds a B.A. in English and Linguistics from the University of Ghana and was a Teaching and Research Assistant at the Language Centre of the University of Ghana. His poetry appeared in The Rape of Death (2015) in Nigeria, the Intercontinental Anthology of Poetry on Universal Peace (2014) in India, Prairie Schooner, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA (2014), Glass Warriors, (2012), Euphemism, Department of English, Illinois State University, USA (2012); among others. He performed some of his poetry in Norway and Ghana on radio and on television, and at the state funeral of the late President J. E. Atta Mills of Ghana (2012) among others. His works have been honoured with mentions in the long-lists of the 2014 Bibishai Niwe Poetry Award (in Uganda), 2013 Ghana Poetry Prize and won the University of Ghana Community Excellence Award (Creative Arts) in 2012.
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