This year's judges are the poets and academics: Chris Abani (Northwestern University); Kwame Dawes (University of Nebraska); Safia Elhillo (winner of the 2015 Prize); Patricia Jabbeh Welsley (Penn State University) and Chair and founder, Bernardine Evaristo (Brunel University London).
On announcing the shortlist, Bernardine Evaristo said: “The judges have come up with a shortlist of ten poets who reflect the increased quality and diversity of contemporary African poetry. We have always received very few entries from North Africa and so we are delighted to count a North African poet on this shortlist for the first time. Likewise with Muslim background poets, whose presence reflects a similar increase in entries.
The largest number of entries comes from Nigeria, which reflected in the four Nigerian poets on this shortlist.
See list of shortlisted poets.
Sahro Ali (Somalia); Leila Chatti (Tunisia); Kayo Chingonyi (Zambia); Saddiq Dzukogi (Nigeria); Yalie Kamara (Sierra Leone); Kechi Nomu (Nigeria); Richard Oduor Oduku (Kenya); Romeo Oriogun (Nigeria); Rasaq Malik (Nigeria); Nick Makoha (Uganda).