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Weeks ago, we did a piece on the 2016 Miles Morland Scholarship shortlist. The winners have now been announced and, out of the shortlisted twenty-two, four scholars were successful: Abdul Adan of Somalia who made the 2016 Caine Prize shortlist; Lidudumalingani Mqobothi of South Africa who won the 2016 Caine Prize; Nneoma Ike-Njoku of Nigeria who won the 2016 Awele Creative Trust award and a Writing for Peace Young Writers Prize; and Ayesha Harruna Attah of Ghana, 2010 Commonwealth Prize-shortlisted author of Harmattan Rain and Saturday’s Shadows. Adan, Lidudumalingani and Ike-Njoku will each receive a fiction grant: a total of ₤18,000 to be paid over a year while they write their novels. Attah, on the other hand, will receive a non-fiction grant: ₤27,000 over eighteen months to allow her research and travel.

The award, decided on the strength of book proposals with excerpts of published writing, was judged by Ellah Wakatama Allfrey, who is the Chair, alongside 2010 Caine Prize-winner Olufemi Terry and Muthoni Garland. Below are Allfrey’s comments:

“We were especially concerned this year to choose scholars whose proposals promised books that had the potential to gain a wide, international readership.

Abdul Adan’s surreal, dark humour will take us to Elwak, on Kenya’s Somali border (with pit stops in Missouri, Kazakhstan and Somalia) as his enigmatic protagonist infiltrates a group of Islamic extremists.

In Ayesha Harruna Attah’s proposal, Kola! From Caravans to Coca Cola, we were immediately engaged by her confident prose and outline for a history of the prized kola nut from its West African origins, weaving together primary sources and travel.

Nneoma Ike-Njoku delighted us with her highly original and boldly ambitious proposal for Drift a novel about a fictional Afro-Psych Rock band formed by college students in 1970s post-Civil War Lagos.

With studied assurance and a beguiling poetic restraint, Lidudumalingani Mqombothi’s Let Your Children Name Themselves will tell the intergenerational story of a family living in rural South Africa, with a focus on Babini – a gay adolescent struggling to come to terms with his sexuality and his place within his community.”

Previous winners of the prestigious scholarship are: Tony Mochama, Doreen Baingana and Percy Zvomuya in 2013; Yewande Omotoso, Simone Hayson, Ndinda Kioko and Ahmed Khalifa in 2014; and Akwaeke Emezi, Bolaji Ofin and Fatin Abbas in 2015.

Congratulations to Adan, Lidudumalingani, Attah and Nneoma!

Read the full announcement here.

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OTOSIRIEZE is a writer, literary journalist, former academic, and Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. A judge for the 2019 Gerald Kraak Award, he is an editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective which has published two volumes: WE ARE FLOWERS and THE INWARD GAZE. He is the curator of ART NAIJA SERIES, a sequence of themed e-anthologies of writing and visual art exploring different aspects of Nigerianness: ENTER NAIJA: THE BOOK OF PLACES (October, 2016) focuses on cities in Nigeria; WORK NAIJA: THE BOOK OF VOCATIONS (June, 2017) focuses on professions in Nigeria. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition, and has been shortlisted for the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship and the Gerald Kraak Award, both in 2016, and a Pushcart Prize in 2015. He attended the 2018 Miles Morland Foundation Creative Writing Workshop. He has completed a collection of short stories, YOU SING OF A LONGING, and is working on a novel. He is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He combined history and literature at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and taught English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. When bored, the boy just Googles Rihanna. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts editing and writing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze.

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