A total of 370 poems, 110 short stories, eleven creative non-fiction pieces and one poem for the secondary school category were entered for the SEVHAGE Literary Prizes 2019 competition. The judges had to take more time to ensure that they selected only the best in the different categories. Because only one entry was entered for the students category of the SEVHAGE/Angya Poetry Prize, it has regretfully been suspended for this year. An on-the-spot poetry competition for secondary school students will take place on Saturday 22nd June, 2019 at the J. S. Tarka Foundation by 9am.

Below are two comments from the poetry judges:

There was an electric response to our call for submission for the BBAF-organized poetry prize, containing poems that are an archive of joy, memory and resilience of the human spirit and endeavour. We were genuinely shocked by the possibilities of power, risk and surprise in the shortlisted poems, carefully penned by poets who, while toggling grief in its various forms, are grateful to be alive, to live within the ambience of a history that seems to eternally flood us. Even as we have looked forward to encountering metaphors-drenched poems, we have found in the shortlisted poems an uncommon testament of images that strike and haunt us, cutting across landscapes of light and darkness, lamentation and celebration. There are not only quiet poems here but also mic-dropping, protesting poems that invest in emotional truths of our reality. – Judge 1

The poems here are quite dark and raw. The grief is palpable, and I can only hope that these outpourings serve the purpose of being cathartic; for the writers, even though the outpouring often denied the reader the opportunity to appreciate metaphor and spontaneous imagery. – Judge 2.



SEVHAGE/Angya Poetry Prize 2019 (out of 370 poems)

  • Adedayo Agarau ‘the origin of a name’
  • Adenle Iyanuoluwa Deborah ‘Why I have Flowers Growing from the Corners of my Mouth’
  • Anthony Okpunor ‘The Moon will return tomorrow’
  • Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto ‘Every month a year’
  • Chukwu Emmanuel ‘Bodies as a Portrait of Beautiful and Broken Things’
  • Gabriel Ikisang ‘Ode to Blindness’
  • Nome Emeka Patrick ‘The Boy Whom Life Breaks Soliloquizes on a Lonely Street’
  • Ojo Taiye ‘Self-Portrait as Slaughterhouse’
  • Osi, Stanley Chijioke ‘Reflections’
  • Pamilerin Jacob ‘Geometry of Sound and Pestilence’


SEVHAGE Prize for Short Fiction 2019 (out of 110 stories)

  • Chizoma Emeka Joshua ‘What Do you Do When You see a Burning Bush’
  • David Iruoje ‘Nineteen Nineteen Eight’
  • Ebuka Prince Okoroafor ‘Cat Boy’
  • Édoziem Miracle ‘When the World Hates Us’
  • Hajaarh Muhammad Bashar ‘3 Shades of Darkness’
  • Marvel Chukwudi Pephel ‘The Boy Who Fell From the Sky’
  • Nurain Oladeji ‘How We Killed Her’
  • Okechi Okeke ‘This is How You Colour A Star’
  • Olaposi Washington Halim ‘The Nigerian Bride’
  • Stephanie Pearce ‘Insanely in Love’


SEVHAGE Prize for Creative Non-Fiction 2019 (Out of 11 Entries)

  • Samuel Amazing Ayoade ‘Water Drowns’
  • Edoziem Miracle ‘To Efu Doe’
  • Nguher Terungwa James ‘Smoke’
  • Odueso Oluwatimilehihn Charles ‘The Herculean Misconception’
  • Ukor Joy Member ‘Changing Narratives’
  • Chukwu Emmanuel ‘The Weight of Family Secrets’



The winners of the prizes will be announced at the Evening of Songs and Spoken Word Concert of the Benue Book and Arts Festival holding at J. S. Tarka Foundation, Makurdi, Benue State on 22nd June, 2019 starting at 6pm.

Congratulations to the shortlisted writers.


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