We are delighted to announce the longlists for the 2023 edition of The Isele Prizes.

The short stories, poems, and essays we publish at Isele Magazine are brilliant and defiant, and this made narrowing down the longlists quite challenging. We considered over 160 works in these categories, and our in-house judges agreed that the works on these lists capture our mission: to provide a platform for works that hold a mirror to our society. These writers continually remind us of the transformative power of stories and the beauty of language. Publishing them was an honor.

On that note, here are the longlists according to their categories and in no particular order:

The Isele Short Story Prize

Master Zambezi” by Ola W. Halim

Pink Flower”  by Jennifer Dickinson

Millie Lorraine” by Josephine Sarvaas 

The Returnee” by Michelle Enehiwealu Iruobe

Weaving” by Yvonne Kusiima

Heart Weeds” by Shaun Anthony McMichael

Potluck Jollof” by Nnamdi Anyadu

When James Baldwin Came To Atlanta” by Charles Stephens 

The Tenderness of Iron” by Ishola Abdulwasiu Ayodele 

The Baby Doesn’t Have A Name” by Ahmad Adedimeji Amobi 

The Isele Poetry Prize

In The Parking Lot” by Alec Solomita

Four Poems” by Echezonachukwu Nduka 

Three Poems” by Ber Anena

Reborn” by Gary Beck

Two Poems” by Salawu Olajide

Self-Portrait of Grief as Fire” Zaynab Bobi

Two Poems” by EJ Schoenborn

Two Poems” by Ashia Ajani 

Pride” by Hayden Dansky 

At Night I Sing My Heads to Sleep” by Matt Hart

The Isele Nonfiction Prize

Fall/Between Words” by Kharys Laue

The Green Passport” by Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto

My Street Food Lady” by Zary Fekete

Lagos City Girls Never Pay For Pasta” by Adaorah Oduah 

Russian Doll” by  Mustapha Enesi

The Slipping Away” by Chinonso Nzeh

Words: On the Linguistic Indoctrination of a Woman” by Cindy DiTiberio 

Short Essay on Music” by Adedayo Agarau 

The Wonder of Childhood” by Chimezie Chika 

Young, Bald, and Woman” by Nike Onwu

About The Isele Prizes

This literary project celebrates the best of short stories, poetry, and essays by writers published in Isele Magazine

The prizes are split into three categories – short stories, poetry, and essays, and each category is judged by a panel of two judges. The longlists of ten stories, ten suites of poems or single poems, and eight essays will be announced in February, while the shortlists of five works per category will be revealed at the end of March. The winners will receive $200 each, presented to them at a ceremony at the end of April.

Only works published in Isele Magazine will be considered for the prizes, and the longlisted works will appear in the annual print project – The Best of Isele Anthology.

At Isele Magazine, we believe that literature and the arts are an integral part of the daily conversations that uplift and shape our thinking. We publish writers and artists who hold a mirror to our society and challenge conventional expectations about ways of being, how to be, and who decides who should be.

Follow this link to read more about how to submit your work for consideration, and click here to read more about our editors.

Important Dates

  • Longlists Announced: February 21, 2023

  • Shortlists Announced: March 21, 2023

  • Winners Announced: April 26, 2023

See here for the all the latest news and updates about the prizes.