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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 Nnaemekaram is a writer, an academic, and Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review ("Mulumba," 2016), Transition ("A Tenderer Blessing," 2015), and in an anthology of the Gerald Kraak Award for which he was shortlisted ("You Sing of a Longing," 2017). His work has further been shortlisted for the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship in 2016 and a Pushcart Prize in 2015. He attended the 2018 Miles Morland Foundation Creative Writing Workshop facilitated by Giles Foden. He is the curator of the ART NAIJA SERIES, a sequence of themed e-anthologies of writing and visual art exploring different aspects of Nigerianness. The first, ENTER NAIJA: THE BOOK OF PLACES (October, 2016), focuses on cities in Nigeria. The second, WORK NAIJA: THE BOOK OF VOCATIONS (June, 2017), focuses on professions in Nigeria. He studied History and Literature at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, is currently completing a postgraduate programme in African Studies and Pop Culture, and teaches English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. He has completed a collection of short stories and is working on a 600-page novel. When bored, he just Googles Rihanna.

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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

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