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South Africa’s Megan Ross, winner of the inaugural Brittle Paper Award for Fiction, has been shortlisted for the 2017 Miles Morland Writing Scholarship.

The 2017 Miles Morland Writing Scholarship shortlist has been announced and there are 21 writers on it. The Miles Morland Writing Scholarships, an initiative of the Miles Morland Foundation, offer a fiction scholarship of £18,000 to two or three writers over the course of twelve months and a nonfiction scholarship of £27,000 to a single writer over the course of eighteen months. The funds are “paid…to allow them to take time off to write the book they have proposed.”

Of the twenty-one names on the 2017 shortlist, six are South African, four are Nigerian and another four Kenyan, two are Cameroonian, and there is one each from Eritrea, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Gambia and Botswana. Here are the chosen writers:

  • Alemseged Tesfai – Eritrea
  • Bryony Rheam – Zimbabwe
  • Cheryl Ntumy – Ghana
  • Clementine Ewokolo Burnley – Cameroon
  • Dayo Forster – Gambia
  • Elizabeth McGregor – South Africa
  • Elnathan John – Nigeria
  • Eloghosa Osunde – Nigeria
  • Fatima Kola – South Africa
  • Fred Khumalo – South Africa
  • Gloria Mwaniga – Kenya
  • Gothataone Moeng – Botswana
  • Kiprop Kimutai – Kenya
  • Megan Ross – South Africa
  • Muthoni wa Gichuru – Kenya
  • Nana Nkweti – Cameroon
  • Palesa Deejay Manaleng – South Africa
  • Sitawa Namwalie – Kenya
  • Tsholofelo Wesi – South Africa
  • Ukamaka Olisakwe – Nigeria
  • Umar Turaki – Nigeria

Cameroon’s Nana Nkweti, finalist for the inaugural Brittle Paper Anniversary Award, has been shortlisted for the 2017 Miles Morland Writing Scholarship. Photo credit: Out Of Focus Studios.

The shortlist was selected by a group of seven readers made up of writers, editors, literary agents and publishers. While the names of the readers are not made public, the Miles Morland Foundation does release the identities of the three judges who would chose the winning scholars: Ellah Wakatama Allfrey, who is the chair, who is Zimbabwean; Olufemi Terry, who is Sierra Leonean; and Muthoni Garland, who is Kenyan. Here is part of the announcement:

It is always difficult to choose the shortlist. The standard of writing increases every year, making the pool to choose from ever wider. We had nearly 550 entries this year, is our highest number to date, with writers applying from 30 countries. We are excited by the array of talent we have on our shortlist, ranging from writers in their twenties to one in his seventies. Once more we have seen anthe energy, originality, and wit in our entries that characterises so much of modern African writing. We are also heartened to see six non-fiction candidates on the shortlist from one last year.

We are happy to see Megan Ross, whose “Farang” won the Brittle Paper Award for Fiction; Nana Nkweti, whose prose-poem “Schoolyard Cannibal” was shortlisted for the Brittle Paper Anniversary Award; Eloghosa Osunde, whose work we’ve published; Kiprop Kimutai who has contributed to one of our features; 2015 Caine Prize finalist Fatima Kola who has reviewed a story for us; Ukamaka Olisakwe whose work we’ve published; and Umar Turaki, who was part of the Work Naija: The Book of Vocations anthology which we published. Bryony Rheam and Dayo Forster both return after being shortlisted in 2016.

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; Akwaeke Emezi, Bolaji Ofin and Fatin Abbas in 2015; and Abdul Adan, Lidudumalingani, Ayesha Haruna Attah and Nneoma Ike-Njoku in 2016.

The judges will meet on 4 December to select the 2017 Scholars. Their names will be announced shortly afterwards.

Congratulations to the shortlisted authors.

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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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