Announcing the 2017 Emerging Poets Prize Winners…


**Urvashi Bahuguna wins Emerging Poets Prize, 2017 **
(selected by Aimee Nezhukumatathil)

Divya M. Persaud & Joshua Muyiwa
win Editor’s Choice Awards, 2017

Urvashi Bahuguna, Joshua Muyiwa, Divya M. Persaud

Out of a robust field of nearly 100 entries, three winning manuscripts have been chosen for publication by The (Great) Indian Poetry Collective, a publishing house founded in Bangalore, India.

 The winners are:

  • Emerging Poets Prize: Urvashi Bahuguna 
  • Editor’s Choice Award: Joshua Muyiwa
  • Editor’s Choice Award: Divya M. Persaud


The guest judge, acclaimed American poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil, found Urvashi’s poems to be  charming and powerful [with the] terrain and radiant heart of these poems prickling and shimmering with a vibrancy hardly ever seen in a debut.”


The selection committee found Divya’s book to be playful and exploratory, delving into trauma and identity. The poems are highly musical, at times experimental, and polyvocal. The collection examines various aspects of C-PTSD and historical trauma in a way that is both compelling and triumphant.

The selection committee found in Joshua’s work a powerful exploration of being queer in India. In poems that are bold and searing, the poet melds memory and imagination to create a world that is magical, surreal and yet wholly believable.


All three winners will receive prizes of Rs. 15,000 and their books will be published in 2018.


Poets Shikha Malaviya, Ellen Kombiyil, and Minal Hajratwala founded The (Great) Indian Poetry Collective in 2013. Under a peer mentorship model, the collective publishes contemporary books of English language poetry from India and the Indian diaspora each year, discovering and bringing forth new voices that are innovative and diverse.  Collective books have received widespread critical acclaim. The Collective also runs inPoetry: The (Great) Indian Poetry App, for Android users.

Below:  Author bios

Download poet photos here.

Biographies of the poets 

The winning poets are available for interviews. Please send all interview requests to .


Urvashi Bahuguna is a poet from Goa who currently lives and works in Delhi. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Eclectica, The Nervous Breakdown, Barely South Review, Kitaab, Jaggery, The Four Quarters Magazine and elsewhere. She was recently shortlisted for the Beverly Prize and the Wingword Poetry Prize. She has a poetry pamphlet forthcoming from Eyewear Books (UK). In 2017, she will be one of ten Indian and Pakistani artists to create collaborative art in The Pind Collective. She was awarded an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia, United Kingdom, in 2014. 


Joshua Muyiwa worked as Dance Editor at TimeOut Bengaluru for over seven years and currently writes a weekly column in the Bangalore Mirror, Gazing Outwards, that talks about race, sexuality and the police force in the city. He has also written for other publications like The Week, Tehelka, Hindu Businessline, Chimurenga, among others. He is queer. Joshua won the Toto Award for Creative Writing in English in 2012 for The Catalogue, a series of nine poems on the history of photography and poetry told through the relationship between a photographer and a poet. But, mostly, he likes to imagine that he spends his time streaming Scandinavian and British crime shows.  


Divya M. Persaud is a writer, composer, and planetary scientist of Indo-Caribbean heritage from New Jersey. She is the author of color (2016) and de caelo et tellure (2015) and composer of digital song cycle i can’t hear myself (2016). Her poetry and music incorporate her polymathic background and transcend form to discuss memory, human connection, and the double-diaspora experience. Divya will start her Ph.D. in planetary imaging in the United Kingdom this fall and hopes to be the first cellist on Mars.