The 2017 Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry

The winner of the 2017 Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry is Canadian poet Juliane Okot Bitek, of Uganda, for her collection 100 Days, published by the University of Alberta Press.

Here is what this year’s judge, John Keene, wrote about the selection:

In 100 Days, poet Juliane Okot Bitek set out to memorialize the tragedy of the Rwandan genocide, but the witnessing force of these brief, incantatory poems ripples outward to figuratively encompass multiple histories of violence and brutality, including the terror her own family and countless others faced under Idi Amin’s regime in Uganda. The lyric beauty, intertextual depth, and metonymic power of Okot Bitek’s poetry underscores the capacities of of art and language to cast light into the darkest corners of our human experience, and bridge the gulfs that lie between us.

In the prize’s fourth year, it is exciting to see the prize go to a woman — and a woman from a line of eventual poets. We look forward to continuing to broaden the global readership for these accomplished and urgent African voices.