Nigerian poet and essayist Tares Oburumu is the winner of the 2021 Sillerman Prize for African Poetry for his manuscript “Origin of the Syma Species”. This is a tornado of a news and has swept the Nigerian literary community off their feet with surprise and commensurate ecstasy.
The award-winning poet took to his Facebook page to celebrate the win, stating:
“Tares Oburumu. From a beggar to a Sillerman prize winner; one of Africa’s biggest. How much pain I went through. Never giving up. Never believing I am less of a poet. Let the doors open. Let me walk right into the moon, sit and tell my stories. One poor beggar from the poorest region of Nigeria just won the Sillerman prize.
I dedicate this to all my Facebook friends. I am all tears, with joy. 12 years writing poetry. Finally, I made it.”
Yes! This is the kind of news that we love to hear as we enter right into the weekend. 12 years of faith, of sowing and watering and praying and hoping. 12 years of not giving up on talent, despite the murky waters of the creative landscape.
The Sillerman Prize, which is administered by the African Poetry Book Fund (APBF), is endowed by the philanthropists Laura and Robert FX Sillerman. It confers a cash award of $1,000 to the finest first full-length poetry manuscript by an African, as well as a publication offer from the University of Nebraska Press.
We’re so proud of Tares Oburumu! Such a well-deserved win. We believe this is a door to many more wins.
– Tares Oburumu