The judges met this week to decide on the Morland Writing Scholars for 2022. The new Scholars are:
Muhammad L. Kejera (Gambia)
Neema Komba (Tanzania)
Chido Muchemwa (Zimbabwe)
Chika Oduah (Nigeria)
Lanre Otaiku (Nigeria)
The winners each receive a grant of ₤18,000 to allow them to take a year off to write their book. The awards are based on submissions which include a book proposal and an excerpt of published writing.
Miles Morland commented: As the sponsor of the Scholarships, I sometimes lament the fact that the qualities I appreciate so much in my African friends such as wit, humour, and positive thinking are so lacking in African writing. But then, as Muthoni Garland, the Chair of our judges commented on this year’s five Scholars, “These are brave and thoughtful writers tackling difficult stories that deserve to be heard.” Yes, we do have one new Scholar who, I hope, will use black humour to illustrate a complicated subject but, as in previous years, it is the dangerous and difficult stories that our new Scholars will be telling. I know those stories will make compelling reading.
Here are Muthoni’s individual comments on the five 2022 Scholars –
In the only non-fiction offering, Chika Oduah intends to witness the brutality of Boko Haram through first-hand accounts of five women directly involved in the conflict. Lanre Otaiku will explore the complicated impact of sexual abuse on two young Nigerian boys by an older woman. Chido Muchemwa uses humour to explore a painfully broken society in which a woman with singing talent becomes a morale booster for the guerrillas during the Second Chimurenga, and skirts with death when she assists a deserter. Muhammed Kejera will mine the archives of Gambia’s Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission to enrich his telling of a people brutalised, scattered, but also infected by the foolishness of the dictator. Through the perspective of women who played key roles, Neema Komba will bring to life the early-1900s Maji Maji rebellion against German colonialism in Tanzania.
This year is special. This is our tenth group of Scholars. We have now had 41 Scholars in total, an extraordinary group of some of the most talented writers in Africa. Our Scholars have come from fifteen countries with eleven from Nigeria and five each from Kenya, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Twenty-five women and sixteen men.
The MMF will announce in the New Year the rules and dates for the 2023 Scholarships. Please do not send in any submissions for 2023 until we announce that we are ready to receive them. You can find information relating to the scholarships on our website: https://milesmorlandfoundation.com/
Meanwhile please feel free to spread the word by posting the news of the 2022 Scholarship awards on social media. If you have questions, please contact Mathilda Edwards on firstname.lastname@example.org .