Maryam Kazeem

Maryam Kazeem was announced the winner of the Huza Press/Goethe Institut Kigali Writing Residency today, July 9, 2021.

In 2020, Huza Press and the Goethe-Institut Kigali announced a new four-week writers’ residency to support writers as they complete or make significant advances with a work-in-progress novel manuscript. The residency envisioned literature as a space for opening up conversations about gender, its modes of construction, histories, representation and relationality to power. Its theme was therefore writing gender.

The judging panel for the residency were author and academic Olumide Popoola, writer and academic Billy Kahora, author and blogger Jochen Konigg, and podcaster and academic Fabienne Imlinger. The shortlist was announced on June 28. The winner of the residency announced today is Maryam Kazeem with Precious Collette Kemigisha coming up as runner up.

Olumide Popoola said of the winning Africa-based writer: “Maryam Kazeem’s writing is sophisticated and beautiful. Her project brims with important and thought-provoking ideas. The novel revolves around naked protests by Nigerian women while engaging with the body, archive(s) and how history is shaped. Kazeem has found an exciting format to interrogate these questions while keeping the reader firmly in the story.”

There was a component of writers from Germany to take part and the winner in that category is Julia Jost with Nannina Matzas as runner up.

Fabienne Imlinger and Jochen Kӧnigg said of the winning German-speaking writer: “Julia Jost delighted the jury with her application. Her outstanding writing, her unique take on a queer coming of age story set in rural Austria, which she renders with sensitive observations – distant and factual and at the same time intimate and vulnerable – made the difference.”

Jost and Maryam Kazeem will attend the residency in September where they will work on their in-progress novel manuscripts and engage with the literary and creative community in Rwanda. They will receive a grant of 2000 Euro each for the residency period.