Adinkra Poetry Prize Submission Guidelines

The Adinkra Poetry Prize invites poetry submissions that respond to any of the 200+ existing Adinkra symbols.

Submit your work

*Previous winners are not eligible to apply*

Writers are invited to submit three poems with each responding to/engaging with one or all of these Adinkra symbols:

  1. Fihankra

  2. Nkyinkyim

  3. Mate Masie

Submissions are open to writers aged 18+ who are Ghanaian citizens and currently live in Ghana.

In light of the upcoming election year, we invite you to provide words that surprise, excite, frustrate, and incite us for change. Offer us a song for change, a chant, a prayer, or even a new national anthem. Additionally, share guidelines that can help us remain accountable to our nation, to ourselves, and to the love or hate we may feel in our relationship with our nation.

The prize is supported by the Center for Humanities (University of New Hampshire) and the Mellon Mays Foundation.

Winners in each category receive USD 200. Three(3) Finalists will receive USD 70

Finalists and winners will be announced in May 2024 and be invited for an award ceremony at the All African Women Poetry Festival. Finalists will also be invited to apply for the WaterMill Residency. Selected submissions will be considered for publication in a digital anthology. The writers of the selected spoken word pieces will be asked to transcribe their work for publication. The committee holds the right to not select winners based on the quality of submissions.

Guidelines - Written

Submit no more than three (3) poems per submission with each poem clearly identifying the chosen Adinkra symbol. One submission per person. Additional submissions will not be read. Poems may be any length, any style, or any subject but must incorporate the chosen Adinkra symbol and its meaning. 

  • Do not include any identifying information in the submission document-all three poems should be a single document.

  • We request that you submit unpublished poems only.

  • We accept simultaneous submissions but please notify us if your work is picked up elsewhere.

  • All questions can be submitted to

Guidelines - Spoken Word

Submit a recorded poem (video) no longer than 1 minute with each poem clearly identifying the chosen Adinkra symbol you are responding to. Do not include your name in the recorded video.

  • Submission should be original.

  • We accept simultaneous submissions but please notify us if your work is picked up elsewhere.

  • All questions can be submitted to

How it started

As a literary scholar practitioner, I was intrigued by the use of Adinkra symbols as poetic expressions by African and African American writers. They reminded me of home but also reminded me of the depth of culture embedded in Akan language. 

In thinking about ways to highlight the rhetoric of Adinkra symbols, I founded the Adinkra poetry prize which invited Ghanaian writers to engage with selected symbols through poetry. 

The goals of the Adinkra Poetry Prize are two fold: to promote the sacred value of these symbols and their relevance as a form of poetics, while also raising awareness of the vast range and significance of Adinkra symbolism. Finalists of the prize are chosen to submit a project to the WaterMill Residency in the US and one winner is selected from the group to complete a 4-week residency for a poetry project.

Winners of the 2023 Adinkra Poetry Prize

Winner 1

Estella Apenuvor

Odo Nnyew Fie Kwan

Winner 2

Jonathan Tetteh Kwao

in a "Twistocratic" Republic

Winner 3

Kwame Brenya

Ananse Ntentan

Runner Up

Ivana Akotowaa Ofori

Ananse Ntentan

Runner Up

Beah Batakou-Meynisse


Runner Up

Ko-jo Cue

Neɛ ɔnnim


Welcome to the Adinkra Poetry Prize FAQ section. Here, we address common questions about the Adinkra Poetry Prize, a prestigious award recognizing excellence in poetry.

For the most up-to-date information on the Adinkra Poetry Prize, including submission deadlines, guidelines, and prize details, please visit the official Adinkra Poetry Prize website.

What is the Adinkra Poetry Prize?

Who sponsors and organizes the Adinkra Poetry Prize?

How can I submit my work for the Adinkra Poetry Prize?

What types of poetry are eligible for submission?

Is there an entry fee for the Adinkra Poetry Prize?

Who can submit to the Adinkra Poetry Prize?

Are there specific guidelines for formatting and length of submissions?

How are winners selected for the Adinkra Poetry Prize?

What are the prizes for the winners?

When and where is the Adinkra Poetry Prize awarded?

Who is eligible for the Watermill Residency?

Are there different prize categories with varying amounts of prize money?