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(CLOSED) 2014 Morland Writing Scholarships

Notice to Scholarship Candidates

It can be difficult for writers, before they become established, to write and to earn a living outside writing at the same time. To help fill this need the MMF awarded three Morland Writing Scholarships in November last year. The Scholarships were open to anyone who had been born in Africa or both of whose parents were born in Africa.

We were astonished by the response to the Scholarships. We had been expecting to get a few dozen entries and ended up receiving over 350. In general the standard was high and choosing the Scholars was difficult. After long deliberation the judges awarded the Scholarships to Doreen Baingana, from Uganda, Tony Mochama, from Kenya, and Percy Zvomuya, from Zimbabwe. All three are hard at work on their books.

The Miles Morland Foundation is pleased to offer three new Scholarships this year. The terms will be similar to last year with one or two minor changes.

The Scholars will receive a grant of £18,000, paid monthly over the course of one year.
Scholar’s Undertaking
In return for this it is expected that the Scholars will pay to the MMF 20% of whatever they subsequently receive from what they write during the year of their Scholarship. These funds will be used to support other promising writers. Last year the obligation to return 20% was a binding condition of accepting the Scholarship. For this year’s Scholars, and retro-actively for last year’s, the 20% return obligation should be considered a debt of honour rather than a legally binding obligation.

To qualify for the Scholarship a candidate must submit a piece of published work, or an excerpt from a piece of published work (written in English), of between two and five thousand words to be evaluated by a panel of readers and judges set up by the MMF. The Scholarships will be awarded based on these submissions although the Foundation may also wish to question certain candidates or ask for other work. The work submitted will be judged purely on literary merit. It is not the purpose of the Scholarships to support academic or scientific research, or works of special interest such as religious or political writings. Submissions or proposals of this nature do not qualify.

The Judges
We are delighted that the panel of three judges who chose the 2013 Scholars have agreed to act as judges again this year:

Ellah Allfrey, Ellah Wakatama Allfrey, from Zimbabwe, is an independent editor, critic and broadcaster. She was previously Deputy Editor of Granta magazine and has worked at Jonathan Cape, Random House and Penguin. She sits on the board of the Writers’ Centre, Norwich, and is Deputy Chair of the Council of the Caine Prize. Ms Allfrey is the Chair of the Judges Panel.

Olufemi Terry, born in Sierra Leone, was the winner of the 2010 Caine Prize for African Literature with his story, “Stick-fighting Days”.

Nadifa Mohamedwas born in Hargeisa in Somaliland. Her 2009 book Black Mamba Boy won global recognition and was awarded the 2010 Betty Trask Award. She has recently published Orchard of Lost Souls. In 2013 she was named one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists.

Will the Foundation provide mentoring, or other help with my work?
Last year the answer was no. With the June appointment of Michela Wrong as Literary Director of the Foundation we will experiment this year with offering mentoring to Scholarship winners. Each of the three winners will be offered the opportunity to be mentored by an established author or publisher who will give help when sought on the progress of their book and comments as to how it is succeeding in meeting its objectives. Participation in this scheme will be voluntary. It is not the intention of the MMF to be an editor or a publisher. Scholars will need to find their own agents and publishers although it is to be hoped that over the years the award of a Morland Scholarship will be something that will come to be recognised as an incubator of talent.

Proposed Work
The candidates should submit a brief description of the work they intend to write (200 – 500 words). It should be a new work, not a work in progress. The proposed work must be in English as must all submissions. Please also tell us in fewer than 300 words something about yourself and your background. Anything in your background suggesting that you have the ability and discipline to write a full-length book will be useful. Proposed works can be on any subject though the judges will show preference to works which relate to Africa. Academic work, medical and scientific research, and works on religious subjects will not be considered for an award.

Fiction or Non-Fiction
The Trustees have wrestled with this question. There is more good fiction coming out of Africa than non-fiction (if you exclude autobiography from non-fiction). We would love to promote non-fiction. The problem is that non-fiction requires continuing and considerable research which may not fit easily into the 10,000 word a month requirement set out below. The Foundation therefore welcomes both fiction and non-fiction proposals but warns non-fiction applicants that they may have a difficult time keeping to the schedule. We are happy to grant a few months’ grace before the Scholarship payments start and the 10,000 words monthly requirement goes into effect to permit a non-fiction Scholar to do research before he or she starts writing.
The Trustees are actively giving consideration to what they might do to promote non-fiction in Africa. We have not yet found the answer. Thoughts welcome.

Poetry? Plays? Film-Scripts?
We love them all, but No, neither as submissions of completed work nor as proposals for books.

Scholarship Requirement
The only condition imposed on the Scholars during the year of their Scholarship is that they must write. They will be asked to submit by e-mail at least 10,000 new words every month until they have finished their book. The Scholarship will terminate if a Scholar fails to submit the required work on time unless prior authorisation has been received. The Scholarship is intended for writers who want to write a full-length book of 80,000 words or more.

Important Dates
The closing date for submissions for the 2014 Writing Scholarships is October 31st 2014. The Scholarships will be announced in December 2014 and will run for the whole of calendar 2015. The Trustees reserve the right to vary the terms and requirements of the Scholarships at their discretion.


African Writer Magazine
African Writer Magazine
African Writer Magazine. Since 2004.

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