Isele Magazine Announces Shortlists for Prizes

Finalists include poets Romeo Oriogun, Uchechukwu Peter Umezurike, and Itiola Jones, and short story writers Troy Onyango and Esther Ifesinachi Okonkwo.
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Isele Magazine's "The Woman Issue."

Isele Magazine's "The Woman Issue."

Isele magazine has announced the shortlists for the inaugural Isele Prizes.

The newly established initiative seeks to reward the magazine’s contributors. The prizes are split into three categories worth $200 each—The Isele Short Story Prize, The Isele Poetry Prize, and The Isele Nonfiction Prize—each assigned a panel of two judges. Only works published in the magazine from its inception until January 2022 were considered. The winners will each get $200 at a ceremony on April 26, 2022.

The longlists were announced last month—ten stories, ten suites of poems or single poems, and eight essays—and will appear in the Best of Isele Anthology, in print.

Isele described the shortlisted works as “brilliant, defiant” pieces that “poignantly explore themes that challenge conventional expectations.” The magazine said in the announcement, “These writers hold a mirror to society, opening hearts and minds with the transformative power and beauty of their words. Publishing them has been an honor.”

The Isele Short Story Prize

The lsele Poetry Prize

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The Isele Nonfiction Prize

Isele was launched in 2020 by Nigerian novelist Ukamaka Olisakwe as a tribute to her late grandmother. Earlier this year, she said to Open Country Mag,  “This initiative gives us the opportunity to appreciate the writers who continue to give us some of the best works you’ll find in a Nigerian-owned magazine in recent years. Working with them has been an honour.”

The magazine welcomes fiction, poetry, essays and book reviews. All pieces submitted are automatically considered for The Isele Prizes.

The winners will each get $200 at a ceremony on April 26, 2022.

Paula Willie-Okafor
Paula Willie-Okafor is a staff writer at Open Country Mag. She is a student at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where she is custodian of The Writers' Community (TWC). Her writing has appeared in Kissing Dynamite Magazine and Praxis Magazine.

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