Out Of Africa: Nigerian Writer Adedayo Agarau Wins Poetic Justice Institute Book Prize

Nigerian poet, editor and essayist Adedayo Agarau has clinched a Poetic Justice Institute Book Prize for his manuscript The Years of Blood.

 Adedayo won the Institute’s Editors Prize for a BIPOC Writer. He will receive $1000, and his manuscript will be published by Fordham University Press in Autumn 2025.

The Years of Blood, selected for the Prize by Elisabeth Frost (the Institute’s Co-Director) and Joanne McFarland, has been described as “a brilliant, shattering, and ultimately cathartic read, signalling the arrival of the sincere, trustworthy voice of one of Africa’s leading poets.”

“I am excited to announce that The Years of Blood has been selected for the Poetic Justice Editors Prize for a BIPOC Writer. I am grateful to Elisabeth Frost and JoAnne McFarland for selecting the book in November 2023. Dear World, I have a book coming”, the author wrote on his X (formerly Twitter) account.

Adedayo Agarau is a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University and a Cave Canem Fellow. He obtained his MFA in 2023 at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he won the Deena Davidson Friedman Scholarship, the John C. Shupe Scholarship, and the 2023 Summer scholarship from The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. His poems have been featured in Poetry Magazine, Poetry Society of America, World Literature Today and elsewhere. He is the author of the chapbooks, Origin of Names (African Poetry Book Fund, 2020), and The Arrival of Rain (Vegetarian Alcoholic Press, 2020). Adedayo is the Editor-in-Chief at Agbowó, a leading African literary magazine.

Adedayo Agarau Wins Poetic Justice Institute Book Prize

Founded in 1999, the Poetic Justice Prize awards honoraria and publication each year to two full-length poetry manuscripts through an open international competition. The Prizes are open to poets at any stage of their careers, with or without previous book publication. Winners of the Prizes have gone on to win several accolades including the Whiting Award, fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, the Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the PEN USA Literary Award in Poetry, the Maine Prize for Poetry, and many others. 

The Prizes are powered by the Poetic Justice Institute which serves the community at Fordham University (a private tertiary institution in New York, USA), as well as a national network of poets, scholars, and social justice workers. The Institute places value on radical collaboration, joyful creative process, and the vitality of human connections.

Click here to learn more about the Prizes.

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