Marial Strikes Gold, Again

Marial Awendit Strikes Gold, Again

 Babishai Niwe Poetry Foundation, stretching its poetic arm across Africa, in 2018, celebrated their fourth poetry festival in Mbale and Sipi Falls, Eastern Uganda. It was there that the highly gifted South Sudanese poet, Marial Awendit, was awarded the $700 prize. His poetry, a gift of the ages, has since been published by Babishai, in a poetry collection, titled, ‘The Night Does Not Drown, Us.’

Again, the unstoppable Marial strikes gold. In November 20203 at the African Writers Conference in Ghana, Marial was awarded first prize in the poetry category for his poem, The Nilotic Coddiwomple.

At The African Writers Conference, discussions around Artificial Intelligence and their interaction with creative writing came up. Marial strongly feels that,


“How will A.I be of practical help for the cattle rustlers in South Sudan? The reality is far removed.”

Marial further went on to praise Babishai for the elevation that the prize gave him.


“Babishai helped to elevate me into the limelight. My poetry is being taught at The University of Venda and many South Sudanese writers have been in touch with me.”

The Babishai Niwe Poetry Foundation continues to support the work of African poets through publishing, training and poetry events.

The Animals of My Earth School; A Poetry Collection by Mildred Barya-A Review

‘The Animals of My Earth School,’ is a gift to readers of all ages, because it has dared to imagine, to feel and to experience animals as they think deeply, live intentionally and thrive. Imagine ‘The Life of Pi’, as a poetry collection.

There is a gravitation towards escaping to a quiet place to read poetry, in order to dwell in its mystery and enchantment.

Mildred Barya has taken us to a world where it is possible for peace to reign. An animal utopia of sorts. And yet she is careful to draw parallel lines between human consciousness.

Locusts. What a brave and apt poem, that declares humanity and love as the victors of our life’s quest. Despite numerous attempts at vanity, greed and disloyalty, consciousness always wins.

Falling in Love. The image of turkeys and driving mirrors. How extraordinary and accurate at the same time.
Unrequited. The simple and yet complex interaction between a human and a cat, stray or otherwise. Similar to our interactions with acquaintances.

Not only do we become drawn into an animal universe, noticing animals which we may have previously ignored, we also enjoy the stories, the dialogue, the dare-devil missteps and the entertainment of daily life.

The poetry is well structured, orchestrated to fit into our lives as we seek answers, as we look for that word which summarises how we feel and as we observe so many untold mishaps around us. The animals are a force to reckon with, engaging in the best and worst ways, allowing us to consider our actions and to dream at the same time, of possibilities.

From ants, beetles, chicken, antelope and many more, the range of  selection also gives the reader a range of emotion and movement to explore.

This is Mildred Kiconco Barya’s foruth full length poetry collection. She teaches creative writing and literature at UNC-Asheville.

The Animals of my Earth School is available at African Writers Trust and on Amazon. Get your copy. You won’t regret it.


Reviewed by Beverley