BEVERLEY’S SPEECH DURING HER AWARD GIVING CEREMONY; 21ST AUGUST 2009 AT FANG FANG RESTAURANT.
In December of 2008, a poetic rumbling stirred inside of me and the rumbling has been growing louder and louder up to this point where poetic lava is about to explode on each one of us. Each of you here is a literary sojourner, and you belong to a large family who in one way or another wants poetry to be unearthed from the graves of misconception and skepticism. Each of you, in your own way, believes that female poets have a stage that for several years has been left empty to cake dust. Those that have made recognizable landmarks must be congratulated but right now we need to see that stage meant for women poets to be active once again. This is the stage, and you are the players.
Deep down inside of me that December in 2008 I knew that something had to happen and I was not sure what. Questions like, Will anyone believe me if I say I’m starting an award? When I send a call out for submissions for a poetry award, will anyone in their right mind respond? If I walk up to FEMRITE and tell them that I need 2 judges to look through the submissions, will they just dismiss me as someone with dead ambitions?
Well, seeing each of you here answers all those questions. The hard work I have put into the whole Beverley Nambozo Poetry award is immeasurable. I have climbed so many hills and waded through so many valleys to get to this point. I do not even have any poem at the moment to share the experience with you. When I see WordAlive Publishers sitting there giving me a nod of approval and pushing me forward, I get tears in my eyes. When the Right Honourable Rebecca Kadaga offers to grace this occasion as guest of honour, I am even too humbled to jump. Believing that UHMG and Uganda Clays Limited can stand by me and trust my effort to make an indelible mark on Uganda’s poetic scene, I feel a deeper sense of purpose and understand more than ever, my role on this earth.
I cannot thank each of the poets enough for submitting their poetry because it is those submissions that made me wake up and clean my literary lenses everyday so that this vision would reach its completion. While many women may shy away from this, I want to also thank Emmanuel my husband for always trusting that this day would finally come. Thank you.
I appreciate all of you here and thank you very much for coming.
The Beverley Nambozo Poetry Award will be an annual event and after this one, I will launch into an even more aggressive national campaign to even out the submissions. Every woman with a creative spirit, should have a chance at empowering themselves with the pen. I cannot do it on my own and so I request you, just as you have supported me this year, to support me again for the next event.
In my own unique way of saying thank you, I will give Rt. Hon Kadaga and each of the sponsors one of my own poems that was recently published by FEMRITE. The Chairperson of FEMRITE, Jocelyn Ekochu, will assist me.
May you enjoy the rest of the evening.