Winners Of The ₤18,000 Morland Writing Scholarships 2017
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Winners Of The ₤18,000 Morland Writing Scholarships 2017

The judges of the Morland Writing scholarships have decided on who the four new Morland Writing Scholars for 2017 are. Out of 550 submissions, a shortlist of 21 writers was drawn. The standard set was so high yet, the competition so fierce that the judges had a difficult time agreeing on the best four so they agreed to award five Scholarships this year.

The 2017 Morland Writing Scholars are:

Alemseged Tesfai – Eritrea

Bryony Rheam – Zimbabwe

Elnathan John – Nigeria

Eloghosa Osunde – Nigeria

Fatima Kola – South Africa

Congratulations Elnathan John and Eloghosa Osunde. We are proud of you guys.

The four fiction winners will receive a grant of ₤18,000 each to allow them to take a year off to write a book. Alemseged Tesfai won a non-fiction award of £22,500 to be paid over fifteen months to allow him three extra months for research. The awards are based on submissions which include a book proposal and an excerpt from published writing.

Miles Morland commented, “First I want to congratulate my fellow 73-year-old, Alemseged Tesfai. Septuagenarians rock. What a talented short-list we had this year. Anyone of the 21 people on it is capable of writing a terrific book and many of them will. Meanwhile, the five books our new Scholars will write are wonderfully diverse. I personally am awed and humbled by the quality of the people the Scholarship is now attracting.”

The Judges for this year’s scholarships were Ellah Wakatama Allfrey, the Chair, accompanied by Olufemi Terry and Muthoni Garland. Below are Ellah’s comments on the new Scholars.

Faced with excellence on all fronts, they found themselves focused on several key questions. Is this a book that will achieve publication and find readers across the continent and beyond? Does the subject matter feel urgent and necessary? Has the author found the best form of the telling of this story? Does the submission show innovation and ambition? The judges focused on the potential each application promised and the five scholars fit all of these criteria.

ALEMSEGED TESFAI of Eritrea will write a single volume of the history of Eritrea – challenging conventional scholarship on the subject and drawing from rich personal experience.

FATIMA KOLA of South Africa will work on a fantasy novel in which her dual African and Asian cultural inheritance is the inspiration for world-building and the exploration of universal themes of friendship, love and the imperfection of moral choice.

Nigerian ELNATHAN JOHN’s proposed historical novel is set in the Sokoto Caliphate – a challenging story in which the past is used to explore urgent contemporary themes of identity, sexuality, faith and tolerance.

ELOGHOSA OSUNDE, also of Nigeria, will write a novel about two school friends – each harboring a secret that could destroy their lives – who decide to join forces and create a home together in the face of a hostile society.

Zimbabwean BRYONY RHEAM promises an historical crime fiction featuring Ingutsheni, a psychiatric hospital in Bulawayo, in which she explores the treatment of those suffering mental illness and the complex dynamics of power, colonial society and migration.


The Foundation expects to award Scholarships for 2018 late next year. We will post the rules for next year’s Scholarships as soon as they are announced. The deadline for submissions in 2018 is likely to be Sept 30th 2018. So you have a lot of time to prepare your entries.

For further information about the Miles Morland Foundation or the Scholarships please contact Mathilda Edwards on +44 20 7349 5030 or

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