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No Roses from My Mouth: Poems from Prison (Political Prisoner #1)

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Stella Nyanzi



Publication Date

February 02, 2020


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Winner, 2020 Oxfam / Novib PEN International Award for Freedom of Expression”Nyanzi is a hero. Her insistence on violating patriarchy’s rules by talking explicitly about taboo subjects-be they the president’s buttocks, sex, sexuality, queerness-should be studied everywhere as a masterclass in the power of refusing to obey the rules of “politeness.” – Mona Eltahawy, author of The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls”Through her actions, Nyanzi has shown that fighting for a free, democratic and equal Uganda does not come free. […] Her story is one that reminds Ugandans that the struggle for freedom has never been achieved by playing to the standards of civility set by those in power.” – Rosebell Kagumire, Editor, African Feminism Stella Nyanzi was arrested on November 2, 2018 for posting a poem on Facebook that was said to cyber-harras the long-serving President of Uganda, Mr. Yoweri Museveni. She was convicted and sentenced to eighteen months in jail.

At the date of publishing this poetry collection, Nyanzi remains incarcerated. She wrote all the poems in this collection during her detention. This arguably makes her the first Ugandan prison writer to publish a poetry collection written in jail while still incarcerated. The first batch of the poems was released on her 45th birthday on June 16, 2019 celebrated while she was in jail under the hashtag #45Poems4Freedom. Other poems were written after the birthday. These poems must be read not only for their beauty and the power of the poet’s vision, but also for the bravery and radical intent of their writing and publishing.

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