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Modjaji Books

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Popularising Poetry: Photography Competition

Kerry Hammerton is compiling a collection of recent poetry mainly published by Modjaji Books. We are planning to make the book visually appealing, which is where the photographs come in.

Poetry is often accused of being too literary and highbrow, obscure and unintelligible. But poetry is often written from the heart, giving the reader a glimpse of an experience that echoes their own. An echo that can provide a moment of illumination or clarity, an aaahh! moment.

Promoting and publishing poetry is one of the cornerstones of the work of Modjaji Books*, an independent press that publishes the work of southern African women writers. Work that is true to the spirit of the Modjaji the rain queen: a powerful female force for good, growth, new life, regeneration.

Strange FruitWoman UnfoldingOleanderAt Least the Duck SurvivedThe Suitable GirlConduit

Modjaji Books is compiling an anthology of poems by southern African women poets. The anthology will feature accessible, vibrant poetry. In this anthology Modjaji would like to feature photographs that speak to and complement the poems selected, photographs by southern African women photographers.

Modjaji Books is hosting this photography competition to identify the photographs that can speak to the poetry in the anthology.

There is no specific subject for the competition. Instead photographers are encouraged to think about one or more of these words or ideas: fecund, fruitfulness, eros, symmetry, exuberance, sexiness, subtle, outrageousness, decoration, feminine impulses, juiciness – as they apply to life in southern Africa – and interpret these in a photograph.

The successful photographs will be featured in the anthology. In addition, at least ten of the top photographs selected will form part of an exhibition. (Date still to be determined – but will be in line with one of the literary events happening in Cape Town in 2012)

Difficult GiftsPiece WorkThese are the Lies I Told YouThe Everyday WifeMissingPlease, Take Photographs

Please submit your black and white photographs (up to five) as attachments to

Please give your photograph(s) a title and in the body of your email please include the following information:

  • Your name
  • Address
  • Telephone Number
  • Email
  • Title/s of your work
  • Photo process
  • Website (if relevant)
  • How you heard about this competition
  • Other information pertinent to your submission.

The closing date of the competition is 31 May 2012. Please address any queries to

Please ensure that your work adheres to the following competition rules:

Competition Rules

1. This competition is open to all women photographers – amateur and professional – living in southern Africa – that is South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia.

2. Photographs must be in black and white

3. There is no entry fee.

4. You must be the photographer and owner of the copyright for any image entered.

5. Entrants can submit a maximum of five images to this contest.

6. Please keep digital manipulation such as cloning and compositing to a minimum; your photograph should faithfully represent the scene as you saw it.

7. HDR images and stitched panoramas are not allowed.

8. Submitted images should be 1024 pixels along the long edge and less than 800kb in size.

9. Please do not include a border.

10. A subtle watermark may be included but it must not detract from the image.

11. Photographers retain full rights to their work. Modjaji Books requests use of accepted images for the purpose of marketing the book and exhibition.

12. By entering this competition, you grant us a non-exclusive license to display your photograph in connection with this contest. Photographers will always be credited alongside their image.

13. We may allow other websites to display a selection of the winning/highly commended images in order to publicise the results of this contest. Photographers will always be credited alongside their image.

14. The winning photographs will be selected by a panel of judges that include Kerry Hammerton, Modjaji poet and Colleen Higgs, owner of Modjaji Books.

15. Winning photographs will be published in the Modjaji anthology of poems. Successful photographers will receive a free copy of the book and the option to purchase further copies at a discounted rate of 50% of the Recommend Retail Price.

16. At least the top 10 photographs will be exhibited in an exhibition. Date to be determined but will be in line with one of the literary events happening in Cape Town in 2012.

17. The winning photographers will be notified by email and the winning names will be published on the Modjaji Books website and Blog (including Facebook) within 14 days after selection. A selection of images may also be displayed.

18. Please note that entries are kept private (i.e. you cannot browse the other submissions).

19. The deadline for entry is 31 May 2012

20. No responsibility is accepted for late, lost or misdirected mail or any errors or failures in internet or other communications.

21. Modjaji Books reserves the right to cancel or modify the competition.

Modjaji Books is committed to “making rain for southern African women writers and all readers”. More information about Modjaji Books can be found at and

Book details


Recent comments:

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">PoetFlow</a>
    May 9th, 2012 @13:49 #

    Hi Kerry,
    Have the selections for the poets/ poems been made already? I would like to submit some of my work. Please get back to me.

    Thanks, Flow


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