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Mathilda Edwards. Image from MMF Website.

Changes are taking place at the Miles Morland Foundation: Michela Wrong has stepped down from her role as Literary Director, a position she took up in 2014, while the Foundation’s former Secretary, Mathilda Edwards, has assumed the new role of Foundation Manager.

Founded in 2013 by Miles Morland, who is British, the Miles Morland Foundation is arguably the most visible benefactor on the African literary scene—sponsoring festivals and initiatives across the continent, as well as organising an annual creative writing workshop and fiction and nonfiction Writing Scholarships for which it is best known. In an email to Brittle Paper, Mr. Morland explained why the changes have happened: Michela Wrong will be needing the time off to focus on completing her book.

Michela Wrong joined the Miles Morland Foundation as Literary Director in 2014. At that time the Foundation had only recently been set up and we were beginning to focus on encouraging and enabling African writing.

Four years on, our 2017 Writing Scholarships received 550 entries, we have played an important part in helping African literary festivals to grow and prosper, started our own African Writing Workshops, and formed a relationship with the University of East Anglia’s Creative Writing School, the finest in Europe, to help African writers.
Michela has played a huge part in this. Without her energy, enthusiasm, contacts and knowledge we would never have got where we are. Sadly for us, Michela, who has already authored four books on Africa, has another one in the making. After our Bulago Island Workshop in February, Michela will step down as our Literary Director to concentrate on her own writing. She will be hugely missed but we are pleased that she has agreed to remain an MMF consultant allowing us to call on her for advice from time to time. She will always be part of the MMF family. I personally will miss Michela hugely but she has a book to write and I shall be the first in the
queue to buy it.

Michela Wrong.

Michela Wrong, also British, spent nearly two decades reporting on the African continent for Reuters, the BBC, and the Financial Times. She is the author of the nonfiction books: In the Footsteps of Mr Kurtz (2000), which focuses on former Zairean (now DR Congo) dictator Mobutu Sese Seko and the country’s transition to Laurent-Desire Kabila’s leadership; I Didn’t Do It For You: How the World Betrayed a Small African Nation (2004), which focuses on Eritrea and its occupation by Italians, the British, Americans and Ethiopians; and It’s Our Turn to Eat: The Story of a Kenyan Whistle-Blower (2009), which tells the story of the journalist John Githongo who took on a senior anti-corruption role in the newly elected government of then President Mwai Kibaki. Also the author of a novel, Borderlines (2016), Wrong frequently writes for the New Statesman.

A graduate of English Literature from Newcastle University, Mathilda Edwards worked for a Member of Parliament for four years as a researcher. She previously worked at Penguin, Bloomsbury and the Eve White Literary Agency.

The Miles Morland Foundation marked its fifth year in 2017. In each of those years, it has offered fiction scholarships of £18,000 to two, three or four writers over the course of twelve months and a nonfiction scholarship of £27,000 to a single writer over the course of eighteen months, which are “paid…to allow them to take time off to write the book they have proposed.” The Scholarships were awarded to Tony Mochama, Doreen Baingana and Percy Zvomuya in 2013; Yewande Omotoso, Simone Hayson, Ndinda Kioko and Ahmed Khalifa in 2014; Fatin Abbas, Bolaji Ofin and Akwaeke Emezi in 2015; Abdul Adan, Lidudumalingani Mqobothi, Ayesha Haruna Attah and Nneoma Ike-Njoku in 2016; and Eloghosa Osunde, Fatima Kola, Elnathan John, Bryony Rheam and Alemseged Tesfai in 2017.

The Foundation has supported a host of literary platforms and initiatives across the continent, including the Abantu Book Fair, African Writers Trust, Ake International Book Fair, Bahati Books, Commonwealth Writers, Femwrite, Hargeysa International Book Fair, Huza Press, Prufrock Magazine, Royal African Society, Saraba magazine, Short Story Day Africa, Storymoja Festival, Writers Project Ghana, Writivism, and the Caine Prize.

Congratulations to Mathilda Edwards on her new role, and best of luck to the Miles Morland Foundation.

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Otosirieze is deputy editor of Brittle Paper. He is a judge for the 2018/19 Gerald Kraak Prize and the 2019 Miles Morland Writing Scholarships. He is an editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective, which has published volumes including We Are Flowers (2017) and The Inward Gaze (2018). He is the curator of the Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies of writing and visual art focusing on different aspects of Nigerianness, including Enter Naija: The Book of Places (2016), which explores cities, and Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (2017), which explores professions. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition. He has completed a collection of short stories, You Sing of a Longing, is working on a novel, and is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He combined English and History at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, is completing a postgraduate degree in African Studies, and taught English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts writing and editing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze. When bored, he Googles Rihanna.

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