Wale Ayinla Wins 2020 Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize

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Mahogany L. Browne has selected Wale Ayinla as the winner of the 2020 Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize for his manuscript To Caste a Dream. Browne notes: “The collection, To Cast a Dream, serves as both eulogy and ode; to the water, to the land, and to the survival of voice. Song, Ocean, Skin, Lapis and Lift — these moments of liberation are the pulse of the poetry. And they beckon us closer, to the page and to ourselves. Who revels in the shine of this literary legacy? Wale Ayinla.” Wale will receive $500, publication by Jai-Alai Books in spring 2021, copies of the chapbook, a residency at The Writer’s Room at The Betsy Hotel in Miami, and a featured reading at the O, Miami Poetry Festival. The following poets have been recognized as finalists: Christopher Rose (Stage Dive), Alexa Patrick (Remedies for Disappearing), and kiki nicole (Autobiography of Boi Venus).

Wale Ayinla is a Nigerian poet, essayist, and editor. His works recently appeared or are forthcoming on Guernica, South Dakota Review, TriQuarterly, Rhino Poetry, UpTheStaircase Quarterly, The LitQuarterly, Cimarron Review, Ruminate Magazine, McNeese Review, Poet Lore, and elsewhere. He is a staff reader for Adroit Journal. He has a Pushcart prize nomination, and several Best of the Net and Best New Poets Award nominations. In 2020, he was a finalist for numerous prizes which include the Jack Grapes Poetry Prize, and his manuscript, Sea Blues on Water Meridian was a finalist for the inaugural Center for African American Poetry and Poetics (CAAPP) Book Prize.

Launched in 2015 with Ross Gay’s selection of Rio Cortez’s I Have Learned to Define a Field as a Space Between Mountains, the annual Toi Derricotte & Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize is dedicated to the discovery of exceptional chapbook-length manuscripts by Black poets. It is presented in collaboration with the O, Miami Poetry Festival and The Betsy – South Beach. The 2021 Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize will be open for submissions in summer 2021.