Mahmoud first encountered spoken word poetry as an undergraduate at Yale University. She joined ¡Oyé!, a spoken-word group affiliated with the Latino Cultural Center on campus, then the Yale Slam Team. Mahmoud was chosen as one of the BBC’s 100 Most Inspirational Women in 2015, and wrote the poem ‘The Things She Told Me’ to mark the honour. She published her debut poetry collection, ‘Sister’s Entrance’, in 2018.
Osman has received fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center, Cave Canem, and the Michener Center. She is a contributing editor at The Offing and lives in Chicago.
Libsekal briefly moved to the United States, where she obtained a BA in Anthropology from George Washington University in 2012. Her poetry explores themes of home, identity and displacement. Her work has been included in Missing Slate Magazine, Badilisha Poetry and Cordite Poetry Review.
A Callaloo Fellow, and twice shortlisted for the Brunel University African Poetry Prize, Ngwatilo has been a Bundanon Trust Residency recipient through The Africa Centre. She is currently at work on her full-length manuscript in poetry, Witness & Dream. The collection explores the lived experience of the diverse rural Kenyan communities with whom she lived between 2012 and 2013. Ngwatilo’s poems have appeared in Transition, Poetry is Dead, Obsidian, Kwani?, and One Throne Magazine among other journals. She works for a digital lifestyle magazine in Nairobi, following a period of time in advertising.
Hope has received fellowships and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Book Critics Circle, The New York Times Foundation, the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund for Women Writers, the Awesome Foundation, Yale University’s THREAD Writer’s Program, and the Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation (VONA). She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best New Poets, and Best of the Net Awards, and was a finalist for the 2017 International Poetry Award.
More recently, Osman was shortlisted for the 2019 Brunel International African Poetry Prize and was named as a winner alongside Nadra Mabrouk of Egypt. She is also currently working on a memoir chronicling her parents’ displacement from Somalia, and the death of her sister Ayan in 2014. It is a meditation on the way trauma and memory are passed on across geography and between generations.