Kenya’s Gloria Mwaniga & Parselelo Kantai among the 2019 Morland Writing Scholarship Winners


Kenya’s Gloria Mwaniga & Parselelo Kantai are among winners in the 2019 Morland Writing Scholarship. The other winners for 2019 are Hawa Jande Golakai and Nnamdi Oguike.

The winners were announced after a record year for entries with almost 700 submissions. The awards are based on submissions which include a book proposal and an excerpt of published writing. The judging panel this year included; Kenya’s Muthoni Garland as the Chair, and Bibi Bakare-Yusuf, and Otosirieze Obi-Young.

The winners will each receive a grant of Ksh. 2.3 million (₤18,000) to allow them to take a year off to write a book.

The Miles Morland Foundation (MMF) support entities in Africa which allow Africans to get their voices better heard. It is particularly interested in supporting African writing and African literature. Over the past two years the MMF has supported literary festivals in Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda and Somaliland, cultural initiatives in east, west, central and southern Africa, London’s Film Africa festival, the Caine Prize for African Writing, several African educational initiatives and the new Rhodes scholarships for Africans.

The Foundation runs a yearly African writing scholarship scheme, the Morland Writing Scholarship, which aims to give writers of both fiction and non-fiction the financial freedom to complete an English-language book.

Previous winners of the scholarship include; Elnathan John, Sibabalwe Oscar Masinyana,
Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu and Alemseged Tesfai.

The 2019 Morland Writing Scholars are:

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.”

More Stories
Joel Macharia & Barclay Okari make it to Forbes Africa’s 30 under 30 entrepreneurs list