Africa Day Irish Times Writing Competition 2018
News06 July 2018
Oluwasegun Seriki has been announced as the winner of this year’s Africa Day Irish Times Writing Competition. Oluwasegun combined humour and wit to tell an insightful story about his experience of going to his first job interview in Ireland. He eloquently illustrated how he dealt with perceived prejudices and showed how those in Africa, specifically the people in his home country of Nigeria, can draw from Ireland’s experience in rising above cultural and religious differences.
“The Day I Found out I Was Black”, by Mary Ishabiyi was announced as the runner-up. Mary’s powerful poem traced her difficult experience of painting a self-portrait, as a young child in an Irish classroom. She spoke of the conflict she faced when deciding on what crayon to use when colouring her skin and how this gave her a greater understanding of those in minority groups.
We also had great entries from a number of younger writers this year. Lara Elkadi was awarded first place in the primary school category for her piece “Rivers”, which articulately portrayed the similarities between the Nile and the Shannon. Lara showed what Ireland and Egypt have in common as a result and encouraged readers to keep our rivers and waterways clean and safe. Arabella Adekoya was named as the runner-up for her story “How close are Ireland and Africa?” Arabella brilliantly described her experience as a young person born in Ireland to African parents. She detailed the many similarities and differences between life in Ireland and life in Nigeria.
Natasha Sutton from Co. Cork is the winner in the secondary school category. Natasha wrote an excellent poem detailing a trip to Malawi and wrote powerfully about the life of a Malawian school girl. Natasha brilliantly described the similarities between her own experience of going to school in Ireland and that of girls in Malawi.
Each of our winners received €50 worth of books and have also seen their piece published in the Irish Times. The winning entries can be viewed here: https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/irish-times-africa-day-writing-competition-winning-entries-1.3556402
The competition provides a platform for emerging and established writing talent. Writers were encouraged to submit pieces which explored the links between Ireland and Africa as well as the richness and diversity of the African continent and cultures. 2018 saw the fourth year of the competition and it was encouraging to see many talented writers taking the opportunity to submit their work. The winners were selected by Irish Aid, Martin Doyle, Books Editor at the Irish Times and 2018 Africa Day Champion, Dagogo Hart.