A Ghanaian poet, Kevin Kwame Dzidefo Anyomi who is known in the writing field as KELS DPOET, has been named winner of the prestigious 2019 West African Citizens awards Best Poet/Writer which was held in Nigeria.
Kels fought off stiff competition from over 1000 other international entrants who were shortlisted to 15 and was opened to public voting where he came first with over 1000 votes beating his other competitors. That again lead to another shortlisting to be decided by the judges prior to their poems submitted.
Launched in 2017 by WAFRICA team and judged by a panel of writers and academics, the award aims at providing a platform for West african finest talents.
The Prize is open to poets who were born in west Africa, who are nationals of a west African country, or whose parents are west African.
To encourage only serious entrants, organisers ask that poets each submit two of their best pieces of work.
“Winning the WAFRICA 2019 best poet/writer Prize feels surreal, it is an unwavering highlight,” said Kels who was startled and in shock.
“I started writing after being inspired by poets I saw during a school trip to the National theatre when I was 16 years old, so to win an international award feels like I am doing my job and responsibility as a poet and human in putting Africa forward where it rightly belongs.”
“Going through the awkward teenage reclusive phase, I wanted to document everything I was observing and started writing what I now knew as poetry,” said Kels
“I was inspired by the way poets articulated and condensed heavy stories and knew poetry was the mode of writing I needed.”
Kels hopes that winning the Wafrica best Poet/writer will open doors that would otherwise be closed, and help him achieve his goal of doing work that benefits the poetry community.
“As a poet it has definitely bolstered my confidence, and of course sheds more light on the possibility of a poetry career,” he said.