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‘The Lilt Of The Rebel’ wins 2022 PAWA Poetry Prize

Obari Gomba

The Lilt Of The Rebel, a collection of poems by Obari Gomba, a professor of English at the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has won the 2022 Pan African Writers Association (PAWA) poetry prize.

The Lilt Of The Rebel was announced as the winner in a virtual ceremony on March 3, 2022, with Gomba, the winning poet, going home with $2,000 prize.

The Lilt Of The Rebel beat five other shortlisted poems to emerge winner including; Chrysanthemum For Wide Eyed Ghosts by Echezonachukwu Nduka; A Poetic Diary Of The Coronavirus Epidemic by Tanure Ojaide; Where The Light Enters You by Servio Gbadamosi and Akimbo In Limbo by Olumide Olaniyan.

The poem is a rich collection of 108 poems on diverse human issues. However, the organisers of the prize described Gomba’s poetry as bold, candid and unafraid of controversy. “In poem after poem, his aesthetics is sure-footed of a poet who has earned his place as one of the best across generations”, they said.

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In the Arabic category, 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. The category had Ashraf Aboul-Yazid (Egypt) and Fatima Bouhraka (Morocco) as judges. Other contenders were Miftah Al–Amari (People Of The Wind) and Nosaiba Atta Allah (Hosted by Godo).

While Sékou Chérif Haidara (Guinea) with his collection, Cahier de vertiges emerged the winner in the French category that had Dr. Alain Serge Agnessan (Ivory Coast), 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).