Three months ago, we announced that The Miles Morland Foundation was accepting applications for a writer’s scholarship. The shortlist for the prestigious Morland Writing Scholarship is finally here, and there are few surprises.
Of the 500 applications received from 37 countries, only 22 names representing 7 countries made the shortlist. In about two weeks, this list will be further pared down to reveal the five lucky winners.
The Morland Writing Scholarship was established to help African writers overcome those financial constraints that might stifle creative output. The idea is to offer writers financial assistance so that they can better apply their time to writing. Every year, a handful of writers are awarded 18,000 pounds disbursed as a monthly stipend over one year.
Here is the complete list of the 2016 shortlistees:
Abdul Adan – Somalia
Jekwu Anyaegbuna – Nigeria
Ayesha Harruna Attah – Ghana
Rotimi Babatunde – Nigeria
Dayo Forster – Gambia
Amy Heydenrych – S Africa
Abubakar Ibrahim – Nigeria
Nneoma Ike-Njoku – Nigeria
Julie Iromuanya – Nigeria
Hamse Ismail – Somalia
William Ifeanyi Moore – Nigeria
Lidudumalingani Mqombothi – S Africa
Nick Mulgrew – S Africa
Otosirieze Obi-Young – Nigeria
Okwiri Oduor – Kenya
Adeola Opeyemi – Nigeria
Olawale Olayemi – Nigeria
Troy Onyango – Kenya
Mary Ononokpono – Nigeria
Koye Oyedeji – Nigeria
Bryony Rheam – Zimbabwe
Sandisile Tshuma – Zimbabwe
As you can see from skimming the list, Nigeria dominates the list, accounting for 11 of the 22 names. The other 11 names are drawn from Somalia, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, and Gambia.
There are some familiar names on the list. You might recognize Kenya’s Okwiri Oduor, South Africa’s Lidudumalingani Mqombothi, and Nigeria’s Rotimi Babatunde. All three are Caine Prize winners. There is also Abdul Adan, who was shortlisted in the 2016 Caine Prize. Julie Iromuanya, who is an Assistant Professor in the US, is currently on the 2016 Etisalat Prize longlist.
William Ifeanyi Moore, Nneoma Ike-Njoku, and Otosirieze Obi-Young are all Brittle Paper writers. We’ve published their writings in the last year. You might also recall that earlier this year Nneoma Ike-Njoku participated in Chimamanda Adichie’s writing retreat. As members of the Brittle Paper family, all three writers have our best wishes. We are rooting for them and hoping they get the award. But Obi-Young’s selection is particular significant for us. The Nsukka-based writer recently joined Brittle Paper as an Editor.
Abubakar Ibrahim is also on the list. You might know him as the 2016 winner of the NLNG Literature Prize. The powerful speech he presented at the award ceremony, in which he affirms the power of dreams in the life of a writers, is currently trending on social media. You can read it HERE.
Ayesha Harruna Attah recently joined Abubakar Ibrahim as a Cassava Republic author. Her novel titled, One Hundred Wells, will be published by the Lagos-based publishing house. You might also recognize Nick Mulgrew. He is one of the brilliant minds behind Short Story Day Africa.
This year’s shortlist is clearly a powerhouse of African literary talent. Congrats to everyone of the 22 shortlisted writers.
Ellah Wakatama Allfrey chairs the panel of judges which includes Sierra Leone’s Femi Terry from and Kenya’s Muthoni Garland. The panel is scheduled to meet on December 12 to decide the five award recipients.
Facebook link image of Abubakar Ibrahim is sourced from Cassava Republic’s Facebook page.