Nadifa Mohamed will facilitate the Iceland Writers Retreat 2017; one of her wards will be Kenyan writer Peter Ngila.
So you’ve heard of the great writers from Iceland like Gunnar Gunnarsson, Bobby Fischer, Sjón, Yrsa Sigurðardóttir, and Snorri Sturluson right? Nothing? Well you might not have heard of them but they are kinda famous in their country.
Iceland is a bit special where the written word is concerned. With a population of about 320,000, the country has more books published and more books read per person than anywhere else in the world, according to a BBC report. One in 10 will publish at least one book, the report said. So you know that we have some serious literary action happening there. Even Africans are not left out with some taking part in the Iceland Writers Retreat that was born in 2014. That initiative involves workshops for writers who want to up their game with some of the best in the business. There are also events which feature speakers from diverse backgrounds like Taiye Selasie in 2015.
In 2017, the retreat will involve the workshopping skills of Somaliland’s favourite author Nadifa Mohamed. She is famous for her two books Black Mamba Boy and The Orchid of Lost Souls. She will be one of those overseeing the Iceland Writers Retreat to be held in April 2017.
Some of her wards will be four recipients of the Alumni Award which are candidates who demonstrate both outstanding potential and financial need funded entirely by alumni and friends of the Iceland Writers Retreat.
One of these Alumni Award recipients, the only African, belongs to a name familiar to Kenyans; Peter Ngila. Peter graduated from Mount Kenya University in August 2015, where he was studying journalism. His short fiction has appeared on magazines and journals in Kenya and beyond including Jalada Africa, Prachya Review, Brittle Paper, Lawino and anthologised in Ebedi Review among others. Peter has attended Writivism Creative Writing workshops in Kenya and Tanzania, and taken part in The Writivism Mentoring Process. He also attended the 2016 Short Story Day Africa Migrations Flow Workshop in Nairobi. Peter has a number of manuscripts, including a short story collection, and a novella. He will go to Ebedi Writers Residency in Nigeria in January 2017 to complete work on a novel.
“I write because I love writing, and I am glad to have made it to Iceland Writers Retreat, though I never expected it because I think my writing is not good enough. I am looking forward to interacting with writers all over the world,” Peter commented on being selected for this new award.
“We are thrilled that Peter will be joining us in Iceland in April,” commented Eliza Reid, Co-Founder of the Iceland Writers Retreat. “We were extremely impressed with his application, and are very pleased to offer this award to such a deserving author. We’re sure he’ll fit right in here in Iceland, a country that admires and reveres writers.”