The three finalists for books chosen for the 2015 Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry are Zimbabwe's Togara Muzanenhamo for 'Gumiguru', South Africa's Kobus Moolman for 'A Book of Rooms' and, again from South Africa, Joan Metererkamp for 'Now the World Takes These Breaths'. Gumiguru, published by Carcanet Press in the United Kingdom, is Muzanenhamo's second collection. His most recent, 'Textures, poems by John Eppel and Togara Muzanenhamo', published late last year by amaBooks in Zimbabwe, was launched at two events in Bulawayo, at the Indaba Book Cafe and at Christian Brothers College, and in Harare at the Book Cafe. He was recently announced as a finalist for this year’s Artists In Residency (AIR) programme and was a featured poet at the 2015 Poetry International Festival in Rotterdam and at the UK's Ledbury Poetry Festival.
Moolman, University of KwaZulu-Natal academic and playwright, was a finalist in the inaugural Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry and was also the winner of the 2013 Sol Plaatje European Union Award.
The Glenna Luschei Prize is worth $5 000 and the winner will be announced on 18 January, 2016. This pan-African poetry prize, funded by literary philanthropist and poet Glenna Luschei, is the only one of its kind in the world. Established to promote African poetry written in English or in translation, it recognizes a significant book published each year by an African poet. Entries came from Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Nigeria and South Africa.
Each year, an internationally renowned poet judges the prize. Now in its second year, the number of entries has more than doubled, and the quality and diversity of books received provided the judge, South African poet Gabeba Baderoon, with a challenging yet enjoyable task. Baderoon is the author of a number of poetry collections including The Dream in the Next Body and A Hundred Silences. She received the Daimler Chrysler Award for South African Poetry in 2005, and is Associate Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and African Studies at Pennsylvania State University in the United States.
Baderoon says: “I read these books and many of the poems again and again. The [finalist books] feel thoughtfully shaped, rivetingly intelligent and superbly crafted. I found them a pleasure and an education to read. Indeed, my horizons were vastly expanded by the extraordinarily well-realised poems in these collections.”