Four African writers have been selected out of a shortlist of twenty for the Morland Writing Scholars 2018. Cote d’Ivoire’s Edwige Renee Dro, Nigeria’s Kola Tubosun, South Africa’s Sibabalwe Oscar Masinyana, and Zimbabwe’s Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu will each receive a grant “to allow them to take a year off to write a book”.
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 awards, which are based on submissions which include a book proposal and an excerpt of published writing, received a bit more than last year’s record entry of 550 submissions from 27 countries—including Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Somalia, and Zimbabwe.
“All twenty people on the shortlist are capable of writing terrific books,” Miles Morland commented. “The four writers the 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.”
Ellah Wakatama Allfrey, who was chair of the three judges which included Muthoni Garland, and Femi Terry commented, “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 and approach. The four Scholars we have chosen each promise books that will be read across Africa and beyond.”
According to a statement released by the awards, 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, and Siphiwe 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.”
Previous winners of the prestigious Scholarships include Fatin Abbas, and Akwaeke Emezi in 2015; Nneoma Ike-Njoku in 2016; and Elnathan John, Alemseged Tesfai, Eloghosa Osunde, and F.T. Kola, in 2017.