Howard Meh-Buh Maximus, Kobina Ankomah-Graham, Okwiri Oduor, and Sarah Uheida were announced the winners of the Morland Writing Scholarships 2020 today, November 24, 2020.

The Morland Writing Scholarship for African Writers, popularly referred to as the Morland Writing Scholarship, is an opportunity to allow writers to finish a manuscript with scholars writing fiction receive a grant of £18,000, paid monthly over twelve months. In the past, the scholarship has been accorded to writers like Yewande Omotoso, Noo Saro-Wiwa, Ayesha Harruna Attah, Gloria Mwaniga Odari, Hawa Jande Golakai, Nnamdi Oguike, and Parsalelo ole Kantai.

The 2020 edition of the award is judged by Muthoni Garland who is the chair, assisted by Bibi Bakare-Yusuf and Chuma Nwokolo. From the 992 entries received, this panel announced the shortlist on October 19 before the winners were revealed today.  The 2020 Morland Writing Scholars are:

Howard Meh-Buh Maximus, Cameroon

Howard Meh-Buh Maximus
Howard Meh-Buh Maximus

Howard’s thoughtful writing is replete with memorable and humorous lines. His proposed novel is about a four-singer-acapella choir caught up in the Anglophone crisis in Cameroon. Music and politics promise to be an intriguing mix of the soulful and soul-less.

Kobina Ankomah-Graham, Ghana

Kobina Ankomah-Graham
Kobina Ankomah-Graham

A memoir shaped around the suicide of a younger brother, explores broken masculinities and repressed mental health issues. It will be an important book on an under-represented field in African literature.

Okwiri Oduor, Kenya

Okwiri Oduor
Okwiri Oduor

Her carefully chosen symbolism and lyrical details will bring to vivid life her coming-of-age novel about a stolen child, madness and identity. A stretching character driven novel that plays with reader emotions and skirts the borders of the fantastical.

Sarah Uheida, Libya

Sarah Uheida
Sarah Uheida

Her proposed non-linear fictionalised memoir will centre her lived experience as a Muslim child survivor of her country’s disintegration into the Libyan Civil War, and the challenges of living as a refugee in South Africa. This is an ambitious project by a new and powerful voice, a writer who learned and mastered English late in her life.

Muthoni Garland reflecting the views of her and the judging panel said: “In the words of the Zimbabwean sculptor, Lazarus Takawira, “Evocative is our history but exciting is our future.” The proposed works of our four 2020 Morland scholars promise to stimulate our thinking about African histories and herstories of social and political significance – the Arab Spring, masculinities, mental health and the Anglophone crises in Cameroon. And these writers demonstrated they have the literary chops to deliver heavyweight writing that is fluid, beautiful and insightful.”

Miles Morland commented, “We have four new Scholarship winners for 2020 out of almost a thousand entries. Our judges, Muthoni Garland, the Chair, Bibi Bakare-Yusuf, and Chuma Nkwolo are familiar with the current African writing universe but they were as pleased as we to find new names popping up from unexpected places, for some of whom English is not their first or second language. We have our first Libyan and first Cameroonian Scholars. The standard was as high as ever. The judges do not favour one type of writing over another but next year I might give them a nudge to favour entries which show the extraordinary wit and humour that for me characterises culture all over the continent.”