The 2018 winners of the highly coveted Morland Writing Scholarship have been revealed.
In its official statement, released on November 27, 2018, the foundation disclosed the four new Morland Writing Scholars chosen out of a shortlist of twenty. There were over 550 submissions of book proposals and an excerpt of published writing.
They are Edwige Renee Dro from Cote d'Ivoire, Kola Tubosun from Nigeria, Sibabalwe Oscar Masinyana from South Africa and Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu from Zimbabwe.
Apart from the honour of winning this distinguished scholarship, winners each get a grant of ₤18,000 which gives them the ability to take a year off to write their books.
Cote d'Ivoire's Edwige Renee Dro is writing about the remarkable life of anti-colonial fighter Marie Sery Kore as well as the history of the West African country.
Sibabalwe Oscar Masinyana's novel "The House of the Apostate" is set in South Africa. It explores faith, identity and love while Siphiwe Ndlovu is working on a crime novel that breaks down the brutal realities of the third Chimurenga (revolutionary struggle). Its called "The Murder of Emile Coetzee".
According to Ellah Allfrey, the Chair of the Judges Panel, "this was perhaps the most challenging - and most rewarding - judging panel we've had, with a wide range of submissions that reflected astonishing imagination, dedication to craft and breadth of subject matter and approach."
She added, "The four Scholars we have chosen each promise books that will be read across Africa and beyond."
Miles Morland, the man behind the scholarship also commented. He said, "All twenty people on the shortlist are capable of writing terrific books. The four writers the judges have chosen are special. I'm delighted that all four winners live in Africa and all four book proposals are books about Africa."
"Africa is a continent of stories and few people can tell them better than our new Scholars. I also want to say a special thank you to our three judges, Ellah Wakatama Allfrey, Muthoni Garland, and Femi Terry. They look under the surface in making their choices and Ellah is a brilliant chair," he concluded.
The foundation was created in 2013 to "support entities in Africa which allow Africans to get their voices better heard."