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Rabha Ashry Takes 2020 African Poetry Prize

This year’s prestigious African Poetry Prize was awarded to Rabha Ashry, marking the second year in a row that an Egyptian has earned the top honor.  Chosen from over 1,000 entrants, her work focuses on issues of migration and the diaspora and is known for its powerful and searing images. A New York University Abu Dhabi graduate, Ashry recently finished an MFA in Writing at the School of the Arts Institute of Chicago. Her work has been published in the Oyez Review, Collected 2018, Airport Road, Electra Street and Strange Horizons. She spends a lot of her time writing on the train and talking to her friend’s cat in Arabic, her teaching profile page says. A mix of poets and academics were this year’s judges, Karen McCarthy Woolf, Kayo Chingonyi, Billy Kahora, Momtaza Mehri and Koleka Putuma, who praised Ashry’s poetry for its powerful, sometimes jarring, images. They said,: “These are poems which echo long after they finish on the page.”