Muthoni Garland
Muthoni Garland

The Miles Morland Foundation has just announced the shortlist for the 2015 Morland Writing Scholarships. These applicants will be whittled down to four on December 14th by the judges Ellah Allfrey who is chair, Olufemi Terry and Muthoni Garland and announced shortly after.

The list features a healthy list of twenty one applicants with seven from South Africa, six from Nigeria, three from Ghana, two from Uganda, and one each from Zimbabwe, Egypt and Sudan.

We have already featured some of these individuals here on Mary Ononokpono for instance was the Early Chapter Book winner in the Golden Baobab Award last year while Kagiso Lesego Molope won the Percy FitzPatrick Prize for Youth Literature. Beatrice Lamwaka the Caine prize 2011 shortlister has featured her work in Johannesburg as well as being one of the facilitators of the Uganda International Writers Conference 2015. Noo Saro-Wiwa had her travel book Looking for Transwonderland: Travels in Nigeria translated into Italian recently.

The person most mentioned in this blog is Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi who has been winning prizes mercilessly in the last few years including the Kwani Manuscript Prize that gave us that beautiful book Kintu. She also won the African regional and global Commonwealth Prize in 2013. Her only non win was when she made the longlist for the Etisalat Prize last year. While she failed to make that Etisalat shortlist, South African Karen Jennings who is also on the shortlist made the cut only to be pipped by all winning Noviolet Bulawayo.

The full list of 21 shortlistees are;

  • Fatin Abbas (Sudan)
  • Ayobami Adebayo (Nigeria)
  • Ayesha Harruna Attah (Ghana)
  • Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond (Ghana)
  • Kurt Ellis (South Africa)
  • Akwaeke Emezi (Nigeria)
  • Amy Heydenrych (South Africa)
  • Mishka Hoosen (South Africa)
  • Karen Jennings (South Africa)
  • Beatrice Lamwaka (Uganda)
  • Kopano Mabaso (South Africa)
  • Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi (Uganda)
  • Kagiso Lesego Molope (South Africa)
  • Cheryl Ntumy (Ghana)
  • Bolaji Odofin (Nigeria)
  • Mary Ononokpono (Nigeria)
  • Ladi Opaluwa (Nigeria)
  • Megan Ross (South Africa)
  • Noo Saro – Wiwa (Nigeria)
  • Wiam El-Tamami (Egypt)
  • Blessing – Miles Tendi (Zimbabwe)

Michela Wrong, Literary Director of the Foundation said, “This year we had 345 entries. This was fewer than last year but I felt the overall standard was higher. Now that the Scholarships are better known we are attracting some of the best African writers. Some of the entries left me almost breathless. I am confident our four Scholarships will yield four outstanding books. Our only disappointment is not to see greater geographical variety in the list. There are many talented writers in Tanzania, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Somalia and other countries. We did have entries from them but none that made the short list. We would encourage people writing in English from all over Africa to apply in future years.”

Good luck people.