South African poet Maneo Refiloe Mohale has been named the winner of the African Poetry Book Fund’s 2020 Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry, for their collection “Everything is a Deathly Flower.”
Award-winning poet Phillippa Yaa de Villiers judged this year’s prize, which annually awards $1,000 to a book of poetry by an African writer published in the previous year.
“A gifted poet will, in this world of distractions, compel the reader to listen deeper, to filter out the verbosity of the market and the barrage of restrictions that humans place upon language, to find the voice of memory, a sound so close to silence,” de Villiers wrote about Mohale’s book.
Mohale is a South African editor, feminist writer and poet. Their work has appeared in various national and international publications, including Jalada, Prufrock, The Beautiful Project, The Mail & Guardian, spectrum.za, and others. They have served as a contributing editor for The New York Times and i-D, among others. They were named a Global Feminism Writing Fellow in 2016, through which they wrote on race, media, sexuality and survivorship. In 2020, Mohale was shortlisted as the year’s youngest finalist for the Ingrid Jonker Poetry Prize.
“Everything is a Deathly Flower” (uHlanga Press) is available for purchase online from the African Books Collective and Amazon.
The African Poetry Book fund, established through the generosity of Laura and Robert F. X. Sillerman and in partnership with the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s literary journal Prairie Schooner, seeks to celebrate and cultivate the poetic arts of Africa. The Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry, funded by literary philanthropist and poet Glenna Luschei and the only pan-African book prize of its kind, promotes African poetry written in English or in translation by recognizing a significant book published each year by an African poet.
The 2021 Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry will open to submissions of books by African poets published during 2020 on June 7, 2021. Learn more about the African Poetry Book Fund and its initiatives.