About Us

In 2008, Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva, Ugandan poet, speaker and author, founded the Beverley Nambozo Poetry Award, which was a unique platform to promote poetry amongst Ugandan women and motivate them to excel further in poetry, through this annual poetry prize. The initial target was Ugandan women and for five years, it was the only poetry prize in the world, coordinating a poetry award for Ugandan women. You see, Uganda at the time was filled with closet poets, those who wrote and wove beautiful words together but just crumpled them under their pillows, fearful of gazing eyes. Many writers start with fear and apprehension and this does not stop even after becoming more established. We fear criticism, we doubt ourselves and we wonder if we’ll ever have a market for our work.

The BN Poetry Award set out to change that. In 2008, the significant poetry groups at the time that could significantly be remembered were Wagadugu poetry nights and a few at Femrite and National Theater. From 2009, more groups opened in Uganda  and to-date there is an undeniable growth in the space for poetry, performance, publishing and poetry festivals.

Babishai in Mbale, 2018

Babishai at Ten reading

In 2013, after five extremely successful years, the secretariat decided it was time for a step of firm and to affirm that, in 2014, the award extended its branch to included all African poets, female and male. The name also changed from  Beverley Nambozo to Babishai Niwe Poetry Foundation, where we coordinate the annual African poetry prize, publish poetry anthologies, conduct poetry camps and mentorships and organise poetry festivals.

(Lillian Aujo left, the very first BN Poetry Award winner, 2009, with Beverley Nambozo.

Photo credit; Profix Studios

Tom Jalio, the first African winner says:

“My confidence in poetry has grown and the BN Poetry Foundation has set a new standard for poetry in Africa.”


Dorothie Ayebazibwe, second winner 2014:

This week of experience with the BN Poetry Foundation and Storymoja has been the best in my life.

Lillian Aujo: winner in 2009:

“A Thousand Voices Rising is the best anthology of poetry I have read in my life.”

This is Africa:

A Thousand Voices Rising is an anthology more diverse than diversity. (It was voted amongst the top 100 books of 2010 to 2014)


A Society immersed in poetry

Mission Statement:

Developing Creative Leadership, through poetry


  • To promote African poetry and target tens of thousands of African poets annually
  • To publish African poetry regularly, either in anthologies, on media or audio-visually
  • Advocate the reading and writing of poetry in schools in various African countries, through outreaches every year
  • Train at least a hundred young African poets regularly, using the Poetricks model
    • The Poetry-nature series: Regular visits to Uganda's most scenic sites to promote environmental awareness while promoting culture through poetry. In 2016, the team visited Mt. Rwenzori, for Poetry on the Mountain. In 2017, the team visited Mabira Forest, for Poetry At Mabira. In 2018, the team visited Sipi Falls, for Poetry At Sipi. In 2019,  Lake Bunyonyi in Kabale for Poetry At Bunyonyi.


Our Publications:

A Thousand Voices Rising (2014): An African poetry anthology

Boda Boda Anthem: a Kampala Poetry Anthology (2015)

When Children Dare to Dream (a Children’s Poetry and short story anthology) 2017

Dress me In Disobedience, A poetry collection by Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva (2022)

Gorillas of Bwindi Avenue: a family adventure story (2022)

The Night Does Not Drown Us,  a poetry chapbook collection by #Babishai2018 winner, Marial Awendit (2022)

Poetry is beautiful. Poetry opens doors. We extend appreciation to our partners, friends, creators of poetry around the world and those who always encourage us and sharpen us.


Email: babishainiwe@babishainiwe.com