Suyi Davies Okungbowa. Photo credits to ASU Events.

Submissions are now open for the 2023 edition of the Literary Laddership for Emerging African Authors. If you’re an emerging African author, consider applying for this esteemed fellowship.

The fellowship aims to support, elevate, and connect emerging fiction authors of Black and/or African descent, based primarily on the African continent and writing in the English language. It was started by author Suyi Davies Okungbowa to allow underrepresented emerging African authors an opportunity to access professional support and infrastructure. He adds:

I’ve put together this literary “laddership” with the aim of forming stronger connections between initial support and paths to publication by offering African writers with minimal privilege access to community and network. Emergent writers will be placed on a true path of growth with the aim of offering both funding and accessibility that barely exists naturally on the continent.

Selected authors will receive $500 each in grants to support their writing and research activities, participate in a digital residency (including a series of interactive and mentoring sessions with established African writers and industry professionals), and a community of practice for discussing further topics related to the craft and professional considerations of being an author. Read about the fellowship benefits here.

Current program advisors include award-winning authors Dhonielle Clayton, Tade Thompson, Makena Onjerika, Kwame Mbalia, Ukamaka Olisakwe, Wale Lawal, and literary agent Alexander Cochran. Last year, the two selected fellows were Olaposi Halim and Davina Kawuma. Read their testimonials here.

Submission Guidelines:

  • Applicant must be a writer of prose fiction in any genre.
  • Applicant must a writer producing original work in the English language.
  • Applicant must be a writer of Black and/or African descent.
  • Applicant must a citizen of an African nation as well as a resident on the African continent.
  • Applicant must be aged 18 and above.
  • Include a cover letter in the email body, briefly describing your basis for meeting the eligibility criteria.
  • Include a writing sample of 3,000 words max (doc, docx, pdf), across two different works, split however the author wishes. Excerpts from a lengthy work-in-progress (novel or novella) are recommended over shorter fiction. Please do not send in one work of 3,000 words.
  • Include a separate document (2 pages max, single-spaced) with a project description, fellowship plan, and budget. This document should include why you should get this fellowship, what you will be working on while here, and how you will spend the funds to achieve this plan. NOTE: The proposed work in your plan must be a manuscript of minimum novella-length (i.e. 17,500 – 40,000 words) or novel length (i.e. 40,000+ words).
  • Ensure that no name or identifying information is present in the submission documents/materials. Such information may be present in the email body.

Judges will assess all applications based on the following criteria: storytelling, language and story structure, style/approach/themes, genre, and project plan. Selected fellows will be announced and contacted between 30-90 days from the deadline.

DEADLINE: April 30, 2023

Submit via email here.

For more information, go here. If you have any questions, please send an email.