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
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.