Brittle Paper is thrilled to announce the New Voices Scholarship in collaboration with Kweli Journal. Four writers, whose works have previously been published on Brittle Paper, have been selected to attend one virtual master class or craft talk of their choice at the 2023 Kweli International Literary Festival.

The selected writers include Gambian writer Mariam Baldeh, Nigerian author Franklyn Agbebaku, Ugandan writer Marjorie Namara Rugunda, and South African author Mihlali Mbobo.

Run by Kweli Journal, Kweli Lit Fest is a multi-week, hybrid festival exclusively for BIPOC, diaspora, and international writers. [See the line-up and registration details here]

We are thrilled to partner with Kweli Journal on this incredible opportunity for our writers. Our objective has always been to create a platform that nurtures writers during the crucial early stages of their journey. This collaboration with KweliLitFest expands upon that vision by providing our writers the opportunity to learn from the very best.

KweliLitFest’s virtual programs run from July 16 to September 6 and feature master classes, multi-session workshops, craft talks, and free reading & conversation events with celebrated and debut authors, including Magogodi oaMphela Makhene, Fatimah Asghar, Mikael Awake, Megan Kakimoto, David Heska Wanbli Weiden, and Megha Majumdar. Any and all writers who are interested are welcome to register as long as spots are available.

See the list of virtual festival programming here. Event dates/times are in Eastern Daylight Time (GMT -4).

Read more about the writers selected for the New Voices Scholarship below:

Mariam Baldeh is an aspiring novelist and short story writer. She was born in The Gambia and raised in several countries before graduating from the University of British Columbia with a Master of Journalism in 2017. Her non-fiction has appeared in various print and online platforms and she runs her own blog called The Real African Story. Nothing nourishes her soul quite like a good story coming together, great music, libraries, country-hopping, J.K. Rowling, Shonda Rhimes, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Oh, and bread. Always bread.

Franklyn Agbebaku is from Uromi, Edo State, and is a spiritual person who enjoys taking time to connect with nature. He finds it important to his wellbeing to maintain a relationship with Mother Earth. After studying plant biology and biotechnology at the University of Benin, Franklyn is currently based in Ghana. He identifies as a world citizen, believing that one automatically becomes a citizen wherever they are based.

Marjorie Namara Rugunda was born in Uganda. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, Media studies and English literature (Hons) from Rhodes University before obtaining her Master’s degree in English Literature and Creative writing at the University of Calgary. She is a recipient of the MacKenzie-Hicks Graduate Scholarship (2019) and the Andrew W. Mellon Scholarship for Urban Connections in African Popular Imaginaries (2018). Her research interests are Post-Colonial literature, African popular imaginaries and female subjectivities in African literature. Currently, she is working as an English teacher at the International School of Uganda.

Mihlali Mbobo is a Cape Town-based freelance writer, voice artist and host of The Mindful and Messy Podcast. Books were her very first friends and her favorite stories are those filled with thought provoking ideas, interesting people and complicated feelings. She hopes to be a writer who can explore the meaningfulness and meaninglessness of modern life with the hope to connect and heal as a collective, as we share our experiences and inner worlds with one another.

Congrats to the scholarship recipients!