Winners of the Morland Writing Scholarships for 2019 have been announced.

From over 700 submissions, the shortlist was screened down to a final four. One of the winners is Gloria Mwaniga Odari who is judging the cfwriterz Dec 2019 literary contest (Collins Elesiro Literary Prize).

The 2019 Morland Writing Scholars are:

Gloria Mwaniga Odari – Kenya

Hawa Jande Golakai – Liberia

Nnamdi Oguike – Nigeria

Parselelo ole Kantai – Kenya

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, “This year’s winners are a brilliant group. I’m happy that all four are living in Africa, not the diaspora, and will be writing books about Africa. Their books have challenging themes very much in tune with the current world. We had a new panel of judges this year with Muthoni Garland stepping up to be the Chair, and being joined by Bibi Bakare-Yusuf, and Otosirieze Obi-Young. Every one of the short list of twenty was discussed in depth before they made their decision. We are lucky to have three judges who are so closely in touch with African writing.”

Here are Muthoni’s comments on the 2019 Scholars reflecting the views of her and the judging panel.

“The winners of the 2019 Scholarships impressed us with their ambitious and confident exploration of some key themes troubling and shaping our continent.  Varied in approach and style, they include a grand social history, a futuristic epic, an immigrant story, and a nuanced family portrait. What they promise in common is persuasive storytelling, coherent world building and insightful characters.

Gloria Mwaniga Odari – Kenya

Following an act of religious cult extremism, a displaced rural girl comes of age in Where the Bougainvillea Blossoms, an intimate portrayal of family that explores the themes of patriarchal and cultural control of women bodies and lives.

Hawa Jande Golakai – Liberia

Speculative fiction of soaring imagination featuring a tightly controlled underwater city of glass in a future mecca for black people in West Africa. Inspired by Liberia, the ebola virus and pending environmental disaster, the proposed novel, Spectral is a terrifying examination of the tensions between freedom and social order.

Nnamdi Oguike – Nigeria

Set in South Africa and Nigeria, Toy Shop is a funny and tender exploration of the bonds of love in a family tested by xenophobic violence and complicated multicultural family ties.

Parsalelo ole Kantai – Kenya

Parselelo will write an important and urgent exploration of the unprecedented nexus of revolutionary intellectuals and artists from multiple African countries, identities and periods that coalesced in Dar es Salaam. Dar es Salaam in the Revolutionary Age is potentially a  zeitgeist work of non-fiction of great historical significance, centred in Africa but set in a global context.”

Miles added to Muthoni’s comments: “We are proud and happy that our Writing Scholarships have come to occupy a unique position in Africa’s literary universe and, as Muthoni says, this year’s new Scholars will write books that speak of Africa and could only come from that continent. Our goal has always been to focus attention on the unique breadth and energy of African writing. This year’s winners will do that brilliantly.”

The MMF will announce early in the New Year the rules and dates for the 2020 Scholarships. There are unlikely to be major changes but please do not send in any submissions for 2020 until we announce that we are ready to receive them.

Meanwhile please post the news of the 2019 Scholarship awards on social media and spread the word.

The 2020 dates and rules will be posted on their website . If you have questions, please contact Mathilda Leigh on +44 20 7349 1245 or [email protected] .

Nov 22nd 2019