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Nigerian writer Kola Tubosun, most recently a finalist for the Brittle Paper Award for Creative Nonfiction, has won a Miles Morland Scholarship.

Four writers have been announced as the winners of the 2018 Miles Morland Writing Scholarships. Cote D’Ivoire’s Edwige Dro and Nigeria’s Kola Tubosun won for nonfiction, and South Africa’s Sibabalwe Masinyana and Zimbabwe’s Siphiwe Ndlovu won for fiction. They were chosen from a shortlist of 20 announced in November, which had itself been chosen from over 550 entries from 27 countries—including Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Somalia, and Zimbabwe.

Founded in 2013, 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 one or two writers over the course of eighteen months. The funds are “paid…to allow them to take time off to write the book they have proposed.” Writers are required to submit a published piece of 2,000-5,000 words. Although entries do not have to be about Africa, preference is given to African related submissions.

Here are the winning writers’ book proposals as revealed in the announcement:

Kola Tubosun will follow in the footsteps of a giant with “Soyinka in the Bush,” a genre-bending biography of the Nigerian Nobel laureate that will focus on Soyinka’s love of nature and his work in restoring natural habitats, all the while paying tribute to the great body of work Soyinka has gifted the world.

Sibabalwe Oscar Masinyana’s novel “The House of the Apostate” will be an exploration of faith, identity and love set in South Africa. His proposal promises a literary novel of ambition and courage.

Edwidge Renée Dro’s non-fiction book will bring to the world the extraordinary life of anti-colonial fighter Marie Sery Kore. In this book about a heroine with a complicated history, Dro will tell a pivotal point in the history of Cote D’Ivoire.

Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu will write “The Murder of Emile Coetzee.” In this crime novel, the writer delicately dissects the brutal realities of the third Chimurenga and promises us an introduction to a black detective, a tangled mystery, and nuanced reflection on motivation and loyalty in a time of conflict.”

The three judges for the scholarships are Ellah Wakatama Allfrey, Olufemi Terry, and Muthoni Garland.

“This was perhaps the most challenging – and most rewarding – judging panel we’ve had, with a wide range of submissions that reflected astonishing imagination, dedication to craft and breadth of subject matter of approach,” Ellah Wakatama Allfrey said. “The four Scholars we have chosen each promise books that will be read across Africa and beyond.”

Also commenting on the winners was Miles Morland, writer and founder of the Miles Morland Foundation:

“All twenty people on the shortlist are capable of writing terrific books. The four judges have chosen are special. I’m delighted that all four winners live in Africa and all four book proposals are books about Africa. Africa is a continent of stories and few people can tell them better than our new Scholars. I also want to say a special thank you to our three judges, Ellah Wakatama Allfrey, Muthoni Garland, and Femi Terry. They look under the surface in making their choices and Ellah is a brilliant chair.”

We at Brittle Paper are happy to see one of our contributors Kola Tubosun among the winners. We are even more delighted given that his piece, “A House for Mr Soyinka,” which would have inspired his winning book proposal, was a finalist for the 2018 Brittle Paper Award for Creative Nonfiction.

Previous winners of the prestigious Scholarships are: 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, Ayesha Haruna Attah, and Nneoma Ike-Njoku in 2016; and Bryony Rheam, Elnathan John, Alemseged Tesfai, Eloghosa Osunde, and F.T. Kola, in 2017.

Of these 19 previous winners, the Miles Morland Foundation stated that

“Only four have produced work from their scholarship so far: Yewande Omotoso with The Woman Next Door, Karen Jennings with Travel With My FatherSimone Haysom with The Last Words of Rowan Du Preez, and Tony Mochama with 2063 – Last Mile Bet.”

Congratulations to Edwige Dro, Kola Tubosun, Sibabalwe Masinyana, and Siphiwe Ndlovu.

For inquiries about the scholarship, contact Mathilda Leigh on: ml@milesmorlandfoundation.com 

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Otosirieze is deputy editor of Brittle Paper. He is a judge for the 2018/19 Gerald Kraak Prize. 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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