Morland Writing Scholarship Winners 2021

Morland African Writing Scholarships 2021

The judges met this week to decide on the Morland Writing Scholars for 2021.

The 2021 Morland Writing Scholars are:

Ope Adedeji (Nigeria)
Asiya Gaildon (Somalia)
Refilwe Mofokeng (South Africa)
Tinashe Mushakanvanhu

The winners each receive a grant of ₤18,000 to allow them to take a year off to write a book. The awards are based on submissions which include a book proposal and an excerpt of published writing.

Miles Morland commented, “We have four new Scholars for 2021. While the number of submissions was lower than in 2020, the standard of the 2021 shortlist was exceptional. The judges, Muthoni Garland, in the chair, Bibi Bakare-Yusuf, and Chuma Nwokolo, felt that any one of the top ten entrants would have made a worthy scholar. African literature is alive and well and finally attracting the global attention it deserves with an Africa Nobel laureate and an African Booker Prize winner in 2021. We also note with pride that previous Scholar, Karen Jennings, was long-listed for the Booker with her haunting novel, The Island, while 2015 Scholar, Akwaeke Emezi’s The Death of Vivek Oji, featured on the NYT best-seller list. Both books were written during their scholarship years.”

Here are Muthoni Garland’s comments on the new Scholars:

  • Refilwe Mafokeng’s book will give physical form to the psychological trauma suffered by women silenced by political expediency. Her imagination and controlled, self-assured, style promise gripping, edgy, intelligent speculative fiction.
  • Tinashe Mushakanvanhu, the only non-fiction Scholar, reminds us that behind the Zimbabwean stone sculptures there are the artists carrying on a tradition that pre-dates the colonial era. A well-researched account of the personal stories and unique processes that lie behind this celebrated indigenous art form is urgent and necessary.
  • With humour and delicacy, Ope Adejedi reveals and revels in the nexus of technology, religion, and tradition that shapes the lives of three generations of women, their complex and intertwined experience of girlhood, lying pastors, friendship, love and insanity.
  • Through the lens of an older, self-exiled film maker who returns home to trace and tell the story of the man who saved his life, Asiya Gaildon reveals Somali’s complex history and the political heritage of its Soviet past. Few novels are set in Somalia, thus making Asiya Gaildon’s lyrical story-telling particularly welcome.

The MMF will announce in the New Year the rules and dates for the 2022 Scholarships. Please do not send in any submissions for 2022 until we announce that we are ready to receive them. You can find information relating to the scholarships on our website:

Meanwhile please feel free to spread the word by posting the news of the 2021 Scholarship awards on social media.

If you have questions, please contact Mathilda Edwards on


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