Suyi Davies Okungbowa revealed the new fellowship “The Literary Laddership for Emerging African Authors” on May 4, 2022.
Suyi Davies Okungbowa is a Nigerian fantasy, science fiction and speculative writer and academic currently based in Ottawa, Canada. He is the author of The Nameless Republic epic fantasy trilogy, beginning with Son of the Storm (Orbit, May 2021). His debut fantasy novel, David Mogo, Godhunter (Abaddon, July 2019) won him the Nommo Award for Best Speculative Novel in 2020. He has also written works for younger readers under the penname Suyi Davies, including Minecraft: The Haven Trials. He won. His work is heavily influenced by the histories and cultures of West Africa and Nigeria, and discusses themes of identity, challenging difference, and finding home.
The writer has announced a new fund, “The Literary Laddership for Emerging African Authors,” to support, elevate and connect emerging fiction authors of Black and/or African descent, based primarily on the African continent and writing in English. It offers fellows access to a funded three-month digital residency, membership in a private community of practice, and continuous support through the publishing ecosystem. This “laddership” is named so because it is significantly invested in “the continuous act of sending the ladder down.”
“As an author born and raised in Nigeria, I am particularly understanding of and sympathetic to the issues plaguing many talented writers residing on the African continent,” says Suyi. “I have witnessed equally talented and ambitious peers be defeated by a paucity of support infrastructure. The inertia of accolades and brief recognition must be connected to a sustainable community and support network that offers reliable infrastructure on which a writer can build a career. This laddership aims to offer support and access to African writers of minimal privilege,” says Okungbowa.
To ensure the success of this program, Suyi has called on advisors from within and without the global publishing industry renowned writers, editors, agents, and readers with experience working with diverse groups. Current advisors include award-winning authors Dhonielle Clayton, Tade Thompson, Makena Onjerika, Kwame Mbalia, Ukamaka Olisakwe, and literary agent Alexander Cochran.
Learn more about this digital fellowship by clicking here.
You can read more about its founder’s reasoning by clicking here.