Winner of the 2022 Kreative Diadem Creative Writing Contest

Winner of the 2022 Kreative Diadem Creative Writing Contest

Winner of the 2022 Kreative Diadem Creative Writing Contest

medals tied on a trophy

Here is the highly anticipated list of the winners of the 2022 Kreative Diadem Creative Writing Contest. Now in its sixth year, the prize seeks to recognize the best literary works by Nigerian writers aged 21 years and below.

Our guest judge, Praise Osawaru, selected the winner for the poetry category while the flash fiction category will be without a winning entry for this year’s edition.

Here is the winner with comments from the judge:

Poetry Category

Winner: “Miracle Mountain” by Timi Sanni

Miracle Mountain is a prayer made directly by the heart to the universe. The poem describes how the pain of reality changes the beliefs of the writer, educating it at the same time, without being changed. It pushes the theory of the constance of sorrow—that life is heavy and despite faith or happiness, there will always be the “loud hammering of hunger on the belly.” The poem asks for answers to questions of self-help and significance in the concept of things—at this point, the writer questions the importance of the actions of people toward breaking apart their sorrow. Using a tender approach to language and structure, the poem explains continuous belief in a betterment, even in awareness of the desponding present. With this, the writer describes hope as a prayer and as a reference altar for positive change. It is absolutely phenomenal. 

Honourable mentions:

“Visiting Hours” by Muiz Ajayi

“Wanderlust: Boy” by Muhammed Olowonjoyin

Flash Fiction Category

A Note on This Year’s Flash Fiction Prize by Kunle Ologunro (Fiction Editor)

Since we started the annual flash fiction prize at Kreative Diadem, we have been committed to seeking out what we consider the best flash fiction pieces and rewarding the writers of each story for the hard work they put into their craft. We understand that “best” is subjective. And so when we read the contest entries each year, we look for creativity and quality. This can be conveyed in different ways: through the story being told and the POV used by the writer, the characters, the choice of details, the beauty of the language, and the emotional resonance of the story. We want stories that relate unfamiliar experiences to us in familiar ways as well as stories that tell us familiar experiences in unfamiliar ways. Simply put: give us what you consider your best.

Sadly, the pieces we received this year fell short of that metric. A good number of writers paid no attention to the guidelines; we received stories past the word count and in fonts different from the one we specified. This year, there were a lot of stories featuring blood and gore, gratuitous spousal murder and cheating partners. We are not opposed to this, we only ask that they be done right. But a lot of these stories were sensational, featuring one-dimensional characters that did not feel true to life. Some stories had titles that we considered to be dead giveaways of the story’s entire plot — and not in a good way. Many of these stories would have benefited with more editing or even an extra pair of eyes. 

For these reasons, we have decided not to have any prizes for the flash fiction category this year. Thank you to everyone who submitted, we hope to receive stronger entries from you next year.

To give you a sense of what we are looking for, you can read some of our past winners here: PAST WINNERS

You can also read some of our craft notes here: NOTES ON CRAFT.


Congratulations to the winner and all those whose works made the shortlist!

We are grateful to our guest judges — Praise Osawaru and Joshua Chizoma — and everyone who sent in their work. Thanks to all our sponsors for their generous donations.

Interviews with the contest winners will be published at a later date.

The maiden edition which held in 2017 was judged by Sueddie Vershima Agema (Flash Fiction) and Okwudili Nebeolisa (Poetry).




action active activity adult


by Enobong Ernest

in this dream

a family bends down


search for the body of their father

among the remains

of bomb blast

a new orphan is


in the colour of a loved one’s blood

i wake up, pleading God’s son’s blood

tv is on. newscaster is

doing mortality count

i’m reaching

for the remote. i’m

pleading more blood. compatriot,

don’t read this poem. you’ve seen it before

        after bloodshed,

a national anthem instrumental


out of father’s radio     then

president reads speech

on rice pyramid

        every time i leave my house

i think of masked men & ransom

of detonation & bullets

of psalms 91 & mother

        let my

countryman open his mouth & say

that he has not incised

the name of the Lord

on his forehead

that his lungs do not feel

like a pair of explosives

       let heaven send a dove here

& see if it will perch

& see if it will peck

an olive branch

in a nutshell:

we squeeze our lives into your palms, Elohim

keep it for us.


Enobong Ernest Enobong is a Nigerian poet and award-winning essayist. His poems are mostly centred on memories, psycho-social experience, humanity, Black, Africanism, and mythology. He is a Best of the Net Nominee of Arts Lounge Magazine (2021). His poem featured in the 2021 SprinNG Afro-Eros anthology To Borrow Screams from the Atmosphere. His works have appeared or are forthcoming in Praxis Magazine, Brittle Paper, Ghost City Press, The Shallow Tales Review, Arts Lounge, Acorn Haiku Journal, African Writer Magazine, Kalahari Review, Wales Haiku Journal, & elsewhere. He is a staunch believer in the power of memories, the formative years of children and the pro-African gospel of Professor P.L.O. Lumumba of Kenya. He writes from Lagos and is currently a law student at the University of Lagos, Akoka.

EUPHEMISM by Samuel Adeyemi

EUPHEMISM by Samuel Adeyemi

faceless muscular ethnic man grabbing wrist of girlfriend during dispute


by Samuel Adeyemi

Second Runner-up of the 2021 Kreative Diadem Annual Creative Writing Contest (Poetry Category)

Murder by a scalpel is pronounced death, 

not surgery. There is no intricacy 


when the blade drowns in a body, whirling

inside like a wet threading of gut. 


Whatever the instrument, do not hesitate

to call your suffering by its name. 


It won’t soften it, but it will unshroud the 

mystique. I have stared at my misery 


for so long, it seems less oblique. How this

works—the fangs still terrify, but they


look just like teeth. The tissue, death-sharp 

yet quite familiar in its whiteness.


Our prophets have always been about pre-

tending. They think calling a wound 


a flower will taper its ache, sugar the poison

that mars the blood. But the first step


to wholeness has always been recognition.

It is a lie that the lie will be


the genesis of healing. The greatest miracle 

lies within the same truth we are taught 


to abandon. When you stare at the mirror, do

not invert the image. There, your open 


chest. Gaze. Is that a nail where your heart 

used to be? Wipe off the honey & tell


the wound as it is. Metal organ. Blood rust.

Why must we wait until our suffering 


ends before we name it? What happens when 

we are the ones outlived? I have chosen 


to resit the ritual of time, to call every bruise 

by its colour. For what is a scar, 


if not a wound waiting to become? Come 

unto me. I will show you where I hurt 

on the river’s body. Look. I am touching 

all over the water. 


MEMORIES by Abdulmueed Balogun

MEMORIES by Abdulmueed Balogun

collection of old instant photos with trips


by Abdulmueed Balogun

A young man walks through 

a hunted street and his phobia 

resurrected from its tomb 


Yet he walks, but with his eyes closed, 

conjuring and using his mother’s pristine smile as a jab

to knock predatory thoughts off balance 


He shuts his ears, 

to preempt eerie voices from 

creeping into his heart through its windows


by receding and whirring 

from the chambers of his heart, 


fear-snaring lullabies that

breathed through his mother’s voice


A young man managed to walk

through his fears, 


in the absence of his mother, 

may her soul in bliss rest

but with the presence of her memories. 


Abdulmueed Balogun is a Nigerian Poet and an undergraduate at the University of Ibadan. He is a 2021 HUES Foundation Scholar and a Poetry Editor at The Global Youth Review. He won Honorable Mention in the 2021 Whispering Cresent Poetry Prize, was the runner-up in the Reform Naija Writing Contest- “FREEWILL” in November 2020, longlisted for the 2021 Ebarcee-Prize and shortlisted for the Brigitte Poirson Poetry Contest (BBPC) February/March 2021. He’s a recipient of the 2021 SpringNg writing fellowship. His poems have been published/are forthcoming in Avalon Literary Review, JMWW Journal, Ligeia Magazine, Subnivean Magazine, Lothlorien Poetry Journal, The Incandescent Review, The Remnant Archive and elsewhere. He tweets from AbdmueedA



dried leaves on a concrete pavement


by Blessing Anaso

I was twelve when I first saw it,

Cells fat and pink, the colour of cancer,

I saw its fingers in Ma’s falling hair and in her brave smile.

Like the sharp scent of disinfectant—angry and relentless.


I smelled death on Pa’s clothes,

In his anti-depression pills and on his thinning hair.

Later, I smelled it in Pa’s study, hanging from the ceiling,

Fists clenched in rigor mortis—blind and bloated.


I heard it in Bebe’s blood pressure,

In the rheumatic pop of her aged knees,

I heard it in the tired sigh of a year too many,

It came in her sleep—ripe but sudden.


This thing called death, I feel it now,

In my husband’s tight grip and midnight sobs,

I see it in my left breast and in my daughter’s uncertain eyes,

I smell it in the rustle of hospital sheets,

And taste it in my bloody vomit.


Small but enough

Like the soft hiss at the end of a kiss.


Blessing Anaso is a student and creative writer living in Nigeria, occasionally known to dabble in dark poetry.

Her work ‘Halima’ was selected for the AU_CIEFFA’s girl-child education campaign, published on their website.

Her poem ‘The Demons You Name’ also placed fourth place in the Kito Diaries ‘#QueerLivesMatter’ competition.

She writes short stories in her spare time.

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