ProjectASHA Announces Winners of the Poetry Prize
L-R; Juliet Nnaji, Favour Idaka, Obasiota Ibe
ProjectASHA is excited to announce the winners of the Vweta Chadwick Poetry Prize 2022.
In memory of Vweta Chadwick, a seasoned poet and award-winning humanitarian, ProjectASHA invited young female poets aged 23 and under to write poetry inspired by the theme "Invisible Disability".
About seventy entries were sent in from across different regions of Nigeria. After a meticulous review and screening of entries, twelve(12) poets were shortlisted for the final event. The quality of entries received in this first edition is an indication of the level of popularity the prized event will gain subsequently.
To kick-off the poetry event was a 3-days pre-event filled story telling, give support, sharing experiences and pure poetry that strengthened voices of women, from people around the world; Tagged 'Invisible Loud Voices' and hosted by Mr. Immanuel Adewunmi, founder of Nigerian Development Hub(NDH) in collaboration with Professor William and Mrs. Aida Jackson, founders My Quest to Teach, who created a 3D virtual reality poetry prize room on Spatial.io; a metaverse site.
In its inaugural edition, the virtual event attracted renown poets and industry experts in the Nigerian poetry space and abroad, such as Dike Chukwumerije, Efe Paul Azino, Sir Eriata Oribhabor, and an electrifying performance by Esther Ottaway, an Australian award-winning female poet living with Autism.
Esther Ottaway shared her struggles with the invisible disability and how women living with autism are hardly diagnosed. she read her poems to further awe the audience.
The judges of the prize are internationally accomplished poets, speakers, and publishers, such as Iquo Diana Abasi, Ella Fortte, David Olajide and Adedayo Agarau.
The winning poem, titled "Invisible Disability’ by Juliet Nnaji stole the hearts of the judges and generated powerful remarks. According to Ella Fortte, ‘Juliet Nnaji is a poet people should look out for, who uses her words as a tool of change’.
The top three poems in the senior category will be published alongside the anthology of Vweta’s poems and on ProjectASHA’s site. One winner was awarded for the junior Category.
Congratulations to the winners:
1st prize: "Invisible Disability" by Juliet Nnaji
2nd prize: 'Cynosure of Beauty' by Favour Idaka Imoke
3rd prize: 'Feral' by Obasiota Maryhilda Ibe
Winner, Junior Prize Category: 'My Invisible Disability' by Jemmy Benson
They will be awarded a total of N500,000 cash prize; each will receive N180,000, N150,000, N100,000 and N70,000 respectively and other participants are to receive cash token as a 'thank you' for making the finalists.
ProjectASHA also congratulates the long-listed poets in the contest:
Mercy Eloebhose, Etinyeneobong Udofia, Famurewa Ayomide, Afeare Debora, Alekwe Joy, Fatokun Favour, Victoria Onyebuchi-Ozonma, Nmesoma Linda.
The dignitaries present applauded the commitment of team ProjectASHA in keeping the legacy of Vweta Chadwick alive, whose stories and testimonials continue to influence and impact women globally.
In his remarks, the chairman of ProjectASHA Mr. Robinson Steve appreciated everyone who made the project possible as he extended his heartfelt gratitude to the project leads Mr. Joseph Waribugo and Ms. Bolanle Adedayo(Bolafunmi) for their efforts toward ensuring the success of the prize event.
Below is the winning piece by Juliet Nnaji
Winning Entry by Juliet Nnaji - From A Place
Read more about the winning poets below. They have recorded their poems to give inspiration to other girls across the globe.
Juliet Nnaji is a multi-passionate creative. Some say she is a notable writer, storyteller, author of three books, front-end developer, and soon to be trilingual. As a spoken word artist, she has performed at some notable events, including Moonlight Tales 2019, Cedar Fest 2020, LABAF 2018 & 2020, and LIPFEST 2021. Her poem "If the Country is a Book" was personally read and selected by Prof. Wole Soyinka, after which she performed it at the World Poetry Day event 2019 organized by Providus Bank. She was also one of the poets selected in the WO2WA Renshi poetry exchange between West Oakland, California and West Africa, Lagos, Nigeria. When she is not connecting with people, she loves reading, writing, coding, and cooking delicacies.
Obasiota Ibe is a 20 years old Nigerian Poet. She has won the Bloomsday Poetry Prize 2020. She was a semi finalist for the Jack Grapes Poetry Prize 2021. Her works are forthcoming or have appeared on Blue Marble Review, Brittle Paper, Kreative Diadem, Poetry Column and elsewhere. She writes from Calabar. She tweets @obasiotaibe
You can find the complete recording of the event on youtube.