Poet Laureate 2021

What is Poet Laureate?

Poet Laureate is an honorary position conferred by Creatives and Community members (Tribesmen) as a creative institution and literary society. The poet laureate is our biggest event as a literary society and is projected to be the most recognized literary award in Africa. Highlighting creative works from the depth of Africa’s shores, this is a season for us to bring to the fore Africa’s most outspoken and impactful creatives. 

We work to ensure that true African stories are told from time to time. We publish African Poetry and Prose pieces creating more publications to contain and sustain original stories. 

As a community, we believe cultural awareness and the realization of the beauty in diversity can strengthen African communities and Narratives, and we bring that consciousness forward through the Poet Laureate. 

The Poet Laureate is established to amplify original narratives from the depth of writers seeking to tell their original stories. We contribute to and correct conversations surrounding the African narrative and cultural awareness. 

Victoria Olajide (Founder, TVOTRIBE).

This annual literary recognition, “Poet Laureate” is translated as “The People’s Poet” which is synonymous in intention to the institutional recognition “Poet Laureate” e.g Pikes Peak Poet Laureate, Minnesota poet laureate, etc. However, ours takes a peculiar form in that we recognize creatives not just in poetry but in other literary spaces. 

Our theme – Ụkabụilu (Parables)

Parables are major elements in the African language as replicated in African literature. Parables are a lot like mythology but mostly deal with moral lessons rather than answering questions of origins. They elevate the language and create depth in understanding. 

The Igbo proverbs and parables are used to teach wisdom and how to view life. How to strive in situations and make decisions. 

Among the Igbo the art of conversation is regarded very highly and proverbs are the palm-oil with which words are eaten.

Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart.

With Ụkabụilu we want African storytellers to explore language, art, the depth of metaphorical understanding, and the Igbo culture. To bring forth unique stories that are spirit-lifting and depict originality.

Parables are succinct, didactic stories that illustrate one or more lessons. There are stories that teach morals and as such, these stories have guided the majority of our communities while growing up. In the same sense, they seem to have been disappearing rapidly. And it is these that we intend to recover for the younger generation. The sense of depth in the use of parables to translate culture, sustain language and nurture a channel to create unstereotyped narratives. 

Registration Guidelines

To be eligible for this competition:

You must be a tribesman (to join, visit bit.ly/JOINTVO)

You have your entry previously unpublished.

Your entry fits the theme for this year’s poet laureate (UKABUILU)

You follow the community on all social media platforms. (so you don’t miss out on important information).

Your submission must be in tandem with all terms and conditions. DOWNLOAD FULL TERMS AND CONDITIONS HERE.

New Submission Deadline: 23rd January 2022. 11:59 PM WAT.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the categories in Poet Laureate?

1. Poetry piece must not be more than 200 words and not more than 40 lines.

2. Prose works must not be more than 2,000 words

3. Poetry and prose works must be submitted in either a doc or PDF format.

4. All art pieces must be submitted in a smart digital image format (jpeg, png)

5. All submitted entries will be published in an anthology after the event

Important details to Note

All entries must be original and previously unpublished. Do not send us works that have appeared on both personal websites or other literary houses. Works appearing on your personal social media accounts will not be categorized as published.

Note: Art & Photography Submissions are welcome but can’t participate in the competition. We will share it on our visual platforms for appraisal. (Submit directly to tvotribe@gmail.com). Spoken word submissions can be posted on the creative’s Instagram, Facebook or Twitter account, please ensure you tag us and we acknowledge receipt.

See more Questions and Answers here.


We take strong metaphors from a selected tribe and use this as the theme for collecting submissions. Creative works in line with this theme are selected and sent to readers, then a list of appointed judges. This is then shortlisted to a winner in each category, followed by voting to select the overall winner. 

This movement seeks to push cultural narratives forward to promote research and interest in African cultures and works. This way we inform, teach and sustain African literature and cultural narratives. 

The event ends with an Anthology; a collective, including all featured works from the competition, an address from the winner, and selected works from the Editor. 


– Event Theme is released 5 days prior to entry collection. 

– Entries are received 50 days prior to the review period. All entries must be sent in before midnight on the last day stated.

– Entries can be submitted in four categories; poetry, prose, spoken word poetry (audio), visual art (photography included) 

– Visual art entries will not be included in the competition category but will feature on the event page and website. 

– Collected entries are sent to the reviewers (Voluntary readers) via the editor in a general document. 

– Entries are reviewed anonymously. 

– Shortlisted entries are submitted to the judges for selection. A winner in each category is selected. 

– Voting begins after Shortlisted entrants are released and end with the winner’s announcement. 

– Review period is about 21 days from the Poet Laureate Prize Winner announcement. 

– Within 30 days from the Prize Winner announcement, TVOTRIBE will forward prizes, compensation, and post-event reports to all associated bodies.

Poet Laureate 2021 Winner


UDO is a Nigerian pseudonymous Artist and writer. He was born and raised at Umualikpa Village II in Isiala Mbano, Imo State, the oldest of 5 sisters and 1 brother. He has lived in various parts of the world and now resides in Bangalore, India, practising peace, passion and football as a lifestyle.

UDO taught himself to be a storyteller and has recently begun writing the stories of his childhood and upbringing, in an effort to recount his experiences of life; bringing Nigeria and his African culture into the forefront of his work.

UDO is a believer of how art is more important than the artist, for which reasons his real name and identity remain unconfirmed and subject to speculation.

Udo emerged TVOTRIBE Poet Laureate for Ukabuilu 2021. He is the fourth winner of the Poet Laureate Competition.

Read about Udo here

Poet Laureate 2021 Anthology – Ukabuilu

On Ụkabụilu African storytellers explore language, art, the depth of metaphorical understanding, and the Igbo culture. They bring forth unique stories that are spirit-lifting and depict originality.

Past Events

TVOTRIBE’s Poet Laureate was started in December 2018 by Victoria Olajide as a means of sustaining creative energy within the collective creative space. Over time, we have been able to transcend from a simple competition to a recognized literary award.

2018:  Adesola Oladoja; author of the poem TO MOTHERS won the Poet Laureate Prize in 2018. The Competition spanned 2 weeks and featured poetry pieces.

“It is a competition for the best. The only thing to worry about is if you are the best. Are you?”

– Adesola Oladoja

Full article on Poet Laureate 2018 here

2019: Abel Okwor; author of the poem “WAGGING TWO MINDS IN A MOULD” won the Poet Laureate Prize in 2019. The competition spanned 4 weeks and featured creative pieces. 

“A friend of mine told me about the competition two years ago. The poets are free to express themselves the way they want on the theme of the contest. No other restrictions (outside the theme).” 

– Abel Okwor 

Full interview on Poet Laureate 2019 here 

2020: Temitope Komolafe; Author of “OF LOVESONGS TURN HEARTBREAKS” emerged as the winner of the 2020 Poet Laureate Prize. The first female poet laureate, Temitope, set a unique pace also emerging as the first poet laureate who would win with a prose work. 

Our theme for 2020 was a Ghanaian word from the Akan tribe, ‘Sankofa Yenkyi’ which implies that ‘it is not wrong to go back and get that which you had forgotten.’ 

“TVO Tribe Poet Laureate is undeniably an opportunity for African creatives to get heard, read, seen and appreciated. The Tribe’s effort to compensate and endorse creativity within Africa by Africans is undoubtedly worthy of commendation. The community breeds the feeling of possibilities in all things African as it propels and proudly projects us and our craft. Our continent is a better one with TVOTribe. I therefore urge all creatives to key into the opportunities within the TVOTribe community and even when doubts arise, keep turning the pages.”

Temitope Komolafe

Temitope’s Interview here

Full article on Poet Laureate 2020 here.

Download Poet Laureate 2020 Anthology here


Contestants must be Tribesmen.

Also note that you cannot submit more than one entry per person, or else be disqualified.

Remember to work with the theme! Any poem that doesn’t feature under the theme would be disqualified.

Wishing you copious amounts of luck,

The Poet Laureate team.

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