Mubanga Kalimamukwento, Obinna Udenwe, Asa Asibon

19 writers from nine African countries are on the shortlist of the 2022 Morland Writing Scholarships. The pack is dominated once again by Nigeria with a whooping nine authors; followed by South Africa and Kenya with two each. Gambia, Ghana, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe are represented with one each.

The Morland Scholarships, in its ninth year, annually awards a monetary grant of up to £18,000 and £27,000 to a writer of fiction and nonfiction respectively, to enable them take time off to write on a proposed work. Scholars are required to submit 10,000 new words of the proposed work every month, with a total word limit of 80,000.

Previous scholars have included Akwaeke Emezi, Howard Meh-Buh, Ope Adedeji, and Karen Jennings.

The 2022 shortlist is an exciting mix of previously published authors and emerging voices. The judges explained the selection process in a press release:

Once again, we had well over 500 entries, every one from a published author. That number alone gives you a feeling for how many talented published authors there are in Africa. People sometimes ask how we come up with a shortlist from such an enormous entry. The first sieving is done by a very experienced editor with a bit of help from the MMF staff to produce a long list of about 100 submissions. We are confident that anyone who could be in the running for a Scholarship will make that list. Those names are then sent out to our team of readers, all experienced agents, editors or publishers, who assign numerical grades to the submissions. Each entry is graded independently by at least two readers. Using these grades as a guide a shortlist is then compiled with no notice being taken of nationality, gender, age, colour, or status. The only criterion is literary merit.

The 2022 judging panel, which is chaired by Kenyan author Muthoni Garland and comprised of Nigerian publisher Bibi Bakare-Yusuf and Nigerian author Chuma Nwokolo, will meet in London on 23 November to decide on the year’s scholars. The winners will be announced the next day.

See the shortlist below:

  • Aba Asibon (Ghana)
  • Tarfa Benson (Nigeria)
  • Joshua Chizoma (Nigeria)
  • Eguono Edafioka (Nigeria)
  • Ibrahim Ibrahim (Nigeria)
  • Hymar Idibie (Nigeria)
  • Amanda Ilozumba (Nigeria)
  • Mubanga Kalimamukwento (Zambia)
  • Muhammad L. Kejera (Gambia)
  • Kiprop Kimutai (Kenya)
  • Neema Komba (Tanzania)
  • Wesley Macheso (Malawi)
  • Keletso Mopai (South Africa)
  • Chido Muchemwa (Zimbabwe)
  • Wairimũ Mũrĩithi (Kenya)
  • Mphuthumi Ntabeni (South Africa)
  • Chika Oduah (Nigeria)
  • Lanre Otaiku (Nigeria)
  • Obinna Udenwe (Nigeria)

Congratulations to the writers!