Four outstanding new Morland Writing Scholars have been chosen for the 2023 edition. They are Rafeeat Aliyu (Nigeria), Mubanga Kalimamukwento (Zambia), Kiprop Kimutai (Kenya), and Remy Ngamije (Rwanda/Namibia).
Founded in 2013, the Miles Morland Foundation (MMF) is a London-based charity which aims to help Africans make their voices heard through supporting African literature and running an annual African writing scholarship, which gives writers the financial freedom to complete an English-language book.
This year, the MMF received over 500 entries, all from published authors, from over 20 countries and from the diaspora. Many were new entries, illustrating the strength of new talent surfacing in Africa, as well as some people who have entered and been shortlisted before.
The 2023 Morland writing scholars each receive a grant of ₤18,000 to allow them to take a year off to write a book. The awards are based on submissions which include a book proposal and an excerpt of published writing.
The Chair for the judges, Muthoni Garland, remarked that all four book proposals are thought-provoking with a touch of humor. These powerful voices and captivating stories have the potential to make a lasting impact on the world. Read her descriptions below:
Rafeeat Aliyu explores the intricate complexities of female land inheritance and Yoruba traditional religion, in historical fiction that is both enlightening and emotionally resonant.
Kiprop Kimutai’s story is about twins separated in the 1800s in the highlands of Kenya whose lives cross paths with a British explorer mapping out East Africa for colonialism. It is a thought-provoking exploration of the themes of identity and belonging at the dawn of colonialism.
Mubanga Kalimamukwento uses humorous oral storytelling techniques to paint the intimate lives of characters facing unimaginable challenges during the AIDS epidemic in Zambia.
Remy Ngamije’s darkly humorous novel is about the son of a dictator accused or raping and killing a famous American singer which results in wide-ranging political and economic ramifications. It is narrated by a salsa-obsessed assassin who works for the dictator.
Miles Morland commented that he is proud of the new scholars and their works:
What a great group of new Scholars. I am confident they will all complete the books they are proposing to write. We have had a lot of brilliant writers in the eleven years we have been doing the Scholarships. This year’s winners rank with the best of them. They are a diverse group with very different but very African themes. One thing I have missed in previous years has been humour, the wit which is such a big part of life in Africa. I’m delighted that this year we will be seeing that. The judges, Muthoni Garland, in the chair, Bibi Bakare-Yusuf, and Chuma Nwokolo, were impressed by the overall standard of the short list but felt that on the submissions, these four stood out. I’m delighted to welcome them to the MMF family. They will make us proud.
Congrats to all four winners! We hope they make good use of their writing year.
The MMF will announce the rules and dates for the 2024 Scholarships in the new year. Stay tuned!