African Poetry Award Winner is Performing at Brighton Festival

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Theresa Lola, who will be performing in ‘Poets and Illustrators’ later this month, has just been awarded the prestigious Brunel International African Poetry Award that is intended to celebrate, promote and develop poetry from Africa.

Lola, aged 24, is one of three of this years winners of the award – she shares the accolade with Hiwot Adilow and Momtaza Mehri, hailing from Ethiopa and Somalia respectively. The three winners, who are amongst thousands of entrants, will share the praise of winning, which is in keeping with the African Poetry’s Award’s project of supporting multiple voices.

Lola, who is from Nigeria, will be able to add her most recent award to the many she has been awarded in recent years, including winner of Hammer and Tongue National Poetry Slam in 2017 and her nomination for the London Magazine Poetry Prize 2016.

She has said herself that “winning the Brunel International African Poetry Prize feels surreal, it is an unwavering highlight.”

Lola also runs several poetry workshops, including four workshops as part of 2017 Lagos International Poetry Festival in Nigeria, which Lola first attended when she was 12 years old, and cites as her first inspiration to begin writing poetry. During these workshops attendees got the opportunity to discuss female African poets and their histories, explore how blackness can be represented in a poem as well as analyse how joy is expressed in poetry.

Illustration by Cressida Djambov

Her performance at the Brighton Festival is as part of a one off event entitled ‘Poets and Illustrators’ on 26th May, during which poets and illustrators come together for a night of, you guessed it, poetry and illustration. The live event will explore the theme of ‘Hard Work’, which is inspired by Brighton Festival’s Guest Director, David Shrigley’s 2009 book.

Illustration by Jess Wilson

‘Poets and Illustrators’ will see Theresa Lola join poets Hollie McNish, whose powerful poetry has challenged stigmas surrounding motherhood and breastfeeding, Toby Campion and Bridget Minamore. The line up is completed by the evening’s live illustrators: Cressida Djambov and Jess Wilson.

‘Poets and Illustrators’ will be at St. Georges Church, Brighton, on 26th May at 8pm, tickets start at £10. For more information and tickets click here. For more information on Theresa Lola and to read her poetry, visit her website.

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