Writers in Kenya are not paid very well. Poets especially aren’t paid very well. It therefore is a kick in the shin for a newspaper to go ahead and ask poets to pay for their poems to appear in the newspaper. The said callout was by the Nation newspaper. The advert read:
“Send a 50 word love poem to email@example.com and stand a chance to win a valentine to remember!! Once the email has been received, you will receive a reference number that allows you to pay Ksh 1000 for your poem to appear on 14th February 2014 in the Friday Nation. The winning poem will be picked by the editor . No correspondence will be entered into thereafter.”
The whole concept is ridiculous. It’s a competition so why should people pay to enter especially when only one poem can win. In reality, the participants will be paying not for their poems to be published, but for the chance to have their poems published and then win gifts. The concept is a good one but the execution is a flop. Have people send in poems free of charge. The question of what the fee is being used for arises as well. Is that what is paying for the gifts? You can’t help but wonder.
You would expect a company that employs hundreds of writers to be more sensitive to writers but Nation clearly doesn’t care and is happily willing to exploit poets. Nation should definitely rethink this competition.