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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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About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young

Otosirieze Obi-Young was born in Aba, Nigeria, and attended the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. A finalist for the 2016 Miles Morland Writing Scholarship, his short stories include: “A Tenderer Blessing,” which appears in Transition Magazine and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2015; “Mulumba,” which appears in The Threepenny Review; and “You Sing of a Longing,” which was shortlisted for the inaugural Gerald Kraak Award and appears in Pride and Prejudice, an anthology by The Jacana Literary Foundation and The Other Foundation. His essays appear in Interdisciplinary Academic Essays and in Brittle Paper where he is Deputy Editor. His interviews appear in Africa in Dialogue, Bakwa Magazine, SPRINNG, and Dwartonline. 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 Nigerian cities. The second, Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (June 2017), focuses on professions in Nigeria. A postgraduate student of African Studies, he currently teaches English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu, Nigeria. When bored, he blogs pop culture at naijakulture.blogspot.com or 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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