CityLife Arts

Submit poems and be published

By Citylife Arts Writer

Young South African poets are being called upon to submit poems and stand to be published  in prestigious poetry journal as well as participating at the popular annual poetry festival, poetry Africa in October.

“The French Institute of South Africa is very happy to partner with the publishing house impepho press and Poetry Africa Festival, to organise a call for poetry submissions, with the support of Total South Africa. Young poets from South Africa are invited to submit poems under the theme ‘Archiving of Imaginary Stories’. Poems will be selected by a jury of experts from the poetry scene, including Tshefhiwa Mukwevho, Nakanjani Sibiya, Toni Stuart, and Makhosazana,” the organizers said in a statement. Xaba.

The selected poems will be part of a poetry collection published by the French Institute and impepho press. It’s a unique opportunity for young poets to promote their work and gain visibility by having their poems showcased in a poetry anthology. Selected poets will participate in a specially curated programme at the 2020 online edition of Poetry Africa, organised by the Centre for Creative Arts (UKZN). 

The publishing of this poetry book also comes within the framework of the Africa 2020 Season in France, a pan-African and multidisciplinary cultural season designed to enable greater understanding of the world from an African perspective. The Season is to take place in France between December 2020 and July 2021.


All poems should speak to the theme ‘Archiving of Imaginary Stories’, which is one of the topics of Africa 2020 cultural season. The poems could be inspired by the following questions extracted from Africa 2020, but poets should feel free to interpret the theme in their own creative way.

–    How do our personal, family, national, regional, and continental narratives relate to the history of the world? How do we identify missing narratives in these existing stories? 
–    Through which lenses is history portrayed and what vehicles are used to convey it? 
–    How is memory passed on and for what purposes? What can we learn from the past? 
–    What do we do with our personal records? What will the billions of audio and text messages, e-mails, social media accounts and websites say about the state of humanity in the 21st century?

Questions such as these are important to all of us and form the backbone of what we hope to engage with through this project.

Selected Poems

1.    Selected poems will be announced at Poetry Africa 2020.
2.    Selected poems will be part of a poetry collection published by the French Institute of South Africa and impepho press.
3.    Selected poets will be invited to participate in a specially curated programme at Poetry Africa 2020.
4.    All authors of selected poems will be expected to provide a biography and a portrait photograph together with the details of anyone who needs to be credited for the photograph.
5.    The copyright of each poem remains with the author. However, authors of the winning poems, by entering the competition, grant the French Institute of South Africa the right in perpetuity to publish and/or broadcast their poem. 
6.    In the case of translation of a poem into English, the poet will need to be available to work with the translator if necessary.
7.    Authors of selected poems will be awarded R4000 in total.


Submissions Open: 12 August 2020
Submissions Close: 3 September 2020
Email submissions to: 
Find out the general rules for applying here

Please share

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *