We are delighted to reveal the shortlists for the 2023 edition of The Isele Prizes.

The short stories, poems, and essays that appear on these lists explore themes that challenge conventional expectations. These writers hold a mirror to society, opening hearts and minds with the transformative power of language. Publishing them was an honor. 

Here are the shortlists according to their categories and in no particular order:


  1. The Returnee” by Michelle Enehiwealu Iruobe
  2. The Tenderness of Iron” by Ishola Abdulwasiu Ayodele
  3. Pink Flower”  by Jennifer Dickinson
  4. Weaving” by Yvonne Kusiima
  5. Potluck Jollof” by Nnamdi Anyadu

Click here to learn more about the writers.


  1. Two Poems” by Ashia Ajani 
  2. In The Parking Lot” by Alec Solomita
  3. Three Poems” by Ber Anena
  4. At Night I Sing My Heads to Sleep” by Matt Hart
  5. Four Poems” by Echezonachukwu Nduka 

Click here to learn more about the writers.


  1. The Slipping Away” by Chinonso Nzeh
  2. My Street Food Lady” by Zary Fekete
  3. Fall/Between Words” by Kharys Laue
  4. Lagos City Girls Never Pay For Pasta” by Adaorah Oduah 
  5. Short Essay on Music” by Adedayo Agarau 

Click here to learn more about the writers.

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