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Kemi Alabi wins First Book Award from poets academy

NEW YORK (AP) — A Chicago-based writer and activist has received the First Book Award from the Academy of American Poets. Kemi Alabi’s “Against Heaven” is scheduled for publication in Spring 2022. Alabi, chosen for the honor by the acclaimed poet Claudia Rankine, will receive $5,000 and a six-week, all-expenses-paid residency at the Civitella Ranieri Center in Umbria, Italy. The academy will also purchase and distribute thousands of copies of “Against Heaven.” Rankine said in a statement Thursday that “Against All Heaven” was a virtuosic and multi-layered exploration of “black queer subjectivity.”

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