South African writer scoops co

Miles Morland Foundation supports writers from Africa in scholarship program

South African writer scoops coveted 2017 Morland African Writing Scholarship

Lidudumalingani Mqombothi, 2016 Caine Prize winner, wins writing scholarship giving him the freedom to focus solely on his next novel

South African writer scoops co

Miles Morland Foundation supports writers from Africa in scholarship program

South African writer, Lidudumalingani Mqombothi’s proposed novel with its studied assurance and beguiling poetic restraint has won judges over in the 2017 Morland African Writing Scholarship, to scoop one of four sought-after writing scholarships.

Mqombothi will receive a grant of ₤18,000, over 12 months, to allow him to take a year off to write his newest novel: Let Your Children Name Themselves. The book will tell the intergenerational story of a family living in rural South Africa, with a focus on Babini – a gay adolescent struggling to come to terms with his sexuality and his place within his community.

We were especially concerned this year to choose scholars whose proposals promised books that had the potential to gain a wide, international readership” said Judges’ Chair, Ellah Wakatama Allfrey.

Mqombothi is joined by two other fiction writers, Somalian, Abdul Adan and Nigerian, Nneoma Ike-Njoku, and non-fiction writer, Ayesha Harruna Attah’s (Ghana) who was awarded this year’s non-fiction scholarship (£27,000 to be paid over a year and a half to allow for additional time for research). Her proposal: Kola! From Caravans to Coca Cola outlines a history of the prized kola nut from its West African origins, weaving together primary sources and travel. 

Miles Morland commented, “Last year our winners were all female. This year the blokes have fought back and we have perfect gender balance. All four winners have the potential to write books that will command global attention. This year we had a record 500 submissions, up from 345 last year. The most heartening thing is the breadth of talent; we had submissions from over thirty countries of which 106 came from Nigeria, a bubbling cauldron of writing talent, 51 from South Africa, 42 from Kenya, 17 from Zimbabwe and 12 from Ghana“.

Michela Wrong, the Foundation Literary Director, said, “Meanwhile our twelve existing Scholars from the last three years have been writing hard. Our hope is that in 2017 at least two of our existing Scholars will publish the books they have written on their Scholarship year with more to follow soon after. I will be surprised if we don’t get ten published books from our existing Scholars.”

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