Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Awards

GBOMA 2020

The Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Awards (GBOMA) is an annual poetry competition founded by Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000) and open to all Illinois residents over the age of 18. The top contestants selected by guest judges from the poetry community are invited to perform their original poems at the live finals event, where the audience favorite is awarded the $500 prize.

Pulitzer Prize winning Chicago poet Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000) founded the Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Award twenty-five years ago. Brooks was born in Topeka, Kansas and lived in Chicago for the rest of her life. She was the author of more than twenty volumes of poetry and numerous other books. Her many awards and honors include Poet Laureate of Illinois, Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, American Academy of Arts and Letters award, a Pulitzer Prize, the Frost Medal, a National Endowment for the Arts award, and fellowships from The Academy of American Poets and the Guggenheim Foundation.



Margot McMahon, Gwendolyn Brooks: The Oracle of Bronzeville (2018), Brooks Park, Chicago

27th Annual Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Awards

The Guild has decided to postpone the 27th Annual GBOMA until 2021.


2019 GBOMA winner: Sharon Powell

Sharon Powell is a Chicago poet and performance artist working solo and with ensembles. Her work has been showcased and adapted for stage at numerous local venues including Guild Complex, the Green Mill Lounge, the Park West, the Metro, the Printers Row Book Fair, and DuSable Museum. Powell has also performed in Atlanta, Milwaukee, Amherst, Boston, and Miami as well as been published in Catalyst and Mosaic magazines.

Past GBOMA winners include the esteemed poets Sename Amagashie, Lucy Anderton, Tara Betts, Lisa Buscani, C.C. Carter, Stephanie Gentry-Fernandez, Marian Hayes, Tricia Hersey, Tyehimba Jess, Langston Kerman, Toni Asante Lightfoot, Nate Marshall, Sage Morgan-Hubbard, Stephanie Rose Perez, Tristan Silverman, Dan “Sully” Sullivan, Mark Turcotte, Deepak Unnikrishnan, Javon Smith, Nicole Bond, Vann Harris, and Nile Lansana.

For more on the 25th Annual Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Awards in 2018, click here.

Or watch the entire 2018 25th anniversary finals event via CAN TV here!

Or watch the 2017 awards via CAN TV here!