Wawa Book Review Young Literary Critics Fellowship


Locations of African Literature: The State of Literary Criticism Workshop

29 and 30 May 2019

Wawa Book Review and the Goethe-Institut Nigeria are organising a 2-Day Critical Nonfiction Writing Workshop titledLocations of African Literature: The State of Literary Criticism, which is an exclusive, invitation-only, residential writing workshop for the fellows of the Wawa Book Review Young Literary Critics Fellowship and a Wawa Book Review volunteer.

The aim of the workshop is the improvement of the participants’ writing of critical nonfiction. To help with the stated aim, the workshop facilitators include Otieno Owino from Nairobi, Kenya; M Lynx Qualey from Rabat, Morocco; Indra Wussow from Johannesburg, South Africa. The facilitators are world-class literary editors, critics and translators, and they have spent sufficient time assessing the writings of each participant, in order to provide them feedback tailored to their individual styles and stated writing goals.

Otieno Owino worked for four years as an Assistant Editor at the Kenyan literary publisher Kwani Trust. At Kwani?, he was part of the editorial teams on the Kwani? Manuscript Project and the Kwani? journal. He was Junior Editor for Safe House: Explorations in Creative Nonfiction, an anthology put together by Commonwealth Writers in which he worked with renowned editor Ellah Wakatama Allfrey. His recent projects were as co-editor for SSDA’s ID anthology (2018). Otieno completed an MLitt in Publishing Studies at the University of Stirling, UK, in 2017 as a Commonwealth Scholar. He lives in Nairobi.

M Lynx Qualey is a critic, book editor, translator, and independent scholar who runs the ‘ArabLit’ website (www.arablit.org), which won a 2017 London Book Fair prize. She also publishes ArabLit Quarterly magazine and co-hosts the Bulaq podcast. Her translation of the middle-grade novel Ghady and Rawan, by Fatima Sharafeddine and Samar Mahfouz Barraj, is forthcoming from University of Texas Press (August 2019), and she recently won the 2019 Columbia College Literary Review Editors’ Prize Contest for her short story ‘Tell a Stranger What You Do’.

Indra Wussow studied Comparative Literature and Translating in Erlangen, Germany, Berkeley, US, and Florence, Italy, and is working as a freelance curator, writer, literary translator and journalist. She is the editor of a series of contemporary African fiction called Africa Wunderhorn that ‘is regarded as pioneer work, focused on introducing contemporary African Literature to a German-speaking readership’. She has translated several works of fiction from English and Italian into German and has published literary reviews extensively in both German and South African newspapers and magazines. Her private arts NGO, Sylt Foundation, has connected numerous artists and writers through residencies and interdisciplinary art projects since 2004. Currently, Indra Wussow is the chief curator of the Sylt Foundation’s long-term project ‘Transformation & Identity, Trauma & Reconciliation’, that brings together writers and artists to collaboratively re-visit national histories, transformations and the trauma related. It involves artists from the countries of Cambodia, Chile, Columbia, Israel, Poland, Rwanda, South Africa and Germany. Since 2019 the project ‘Diverse People Remember’ added community workshops in storytelling and arts therapy to share experiences of transformation and trauma among diverse audiences in the different countries. Indra currently lives in Johannesburg, South Africa, and Yangon, Myanmar.

The first day of the workshop will feature interactive presentations by the facilitators on the reception of African Literature in translation in Germany, the developments in regional literatures across the African continent, and techniques and practices for enhancing the writing of critical nonfiction. The second day of the workshop will be taken up by one-on-one sessions during which a facilitator will work with a participant by discussing that participant’s writing, and that will be done until each participant has received feedback from and discussed their writing with each of the three facilitators and until each facilitator has worked with each of the ten participants. The average time for each one-on-one session, on the second day, is projected to be 30 minutes.

The overall goal of the Young Literary Critics Fellowship, both the workshop and the 10-month mentorship process that preceded it, is to provide support to and an opportunity for self-identified emerging writers to develop into world-class literary critics through a disciplined process of learning by doing.


Mentors Announced

2 July 2018

We are pleased to announce the mentors for the 2018 Wawa Book Review Young Literary Critics Fellowship.

The mentors are world-renowned critics who are at home in the ever evolving African literary tradition, and they are dedicated teachers of writing.

The mentors are:

  1. Adewale Maja-Pearce
  2. Uzor Maxim Uzoatu

Adewale Maja-Pearce was born in London, England, in 1953 and grew up in Lagos, Nigeria. He was previously Africa editor of Index on Censorship magazine, and editor of the (now defunct) Heinemann African Writers Series. He currently lives in Lagos, where he runs The New Gong – www.thenewgong.com – a small publishing company. He has written for a number of newspapers and magazines, including Granta, the New York Times and the London Review of Books. He holds a BA from the University College of Swansea, Wales, and an MA from London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies. He has published a number of books, including In My Father’s Country: A Nigerian Journey (1987), Remembering Ken Saro-Wiwa and Other Essays (2005), A Peculiar Tragedy: JP Clark-Bekederemo and the Beginning of Modern Nigerian Literature in English (2010) and, most recently, The House My Father Built (2014).

Uzor Maxim Uzoatu was educated at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) where he took a degree in Dramatic Arts with Prof Wole Soyinka as Head of Department. He later bagged a Masters degree in Literature at the University of Lagos. He started out in community theatre through which he directed his first play, Doctor of Football, in 1979. His other play is A Play of Ghosts (1989). He has since ventured into journalism and currently serves as the chairman of the Editorial Board of The Union newspapers, Lagos. He was the 1989 Distinguished Visitor at the Graduate School of Journalism, University of Western Ontario, Canada, and was nominated for the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2008 for his short story, ‘Cemetery of Life’, published in Wasafiri magazine, London. He is the author of the poetry collection God of Poetry. He wrote the narrative for Scottish photographer Owen Logan’s picture book, Masquerade: Michael Jackson Alive in Nigeria, exhibited at STILLS, Scotland’s Centre for Photography, Edinburgh, from 1 August to 26 October, 2014. Uzoatu lives in Lagos, Nigeria, with his wife, Chidimma, and their four children. Contact: c/o Adewale Maja-Pearce, 11 Abiona Close, Falolu, Lagos, Nigeria. Phone: 0803 313 7480. Email: maximuzoatu@yahoo.com.


Winners Announced

28 May 2018

We are pleased to announce the winners of the 2018 Wawa Book Review Young Literary Critics Fellowship Competition.

The entries were impressive, suggesting that we have a crop of young critics who will benefit from the support the fellowship provides.

The winners are:

  1. Victor Udochi Iwueze-Elias, University of Benin
  2. Onaopemipo Ukwuoma Akinde, University of Lagos
  3. Ayodele Muritala Ibiyemi, Obafemi Awolowo University
  4. Oluwatimilehin Charles Odueso, Ahmadu Bello University
  5. Ekemini Udo Pius, University of Calabar
  6. Ibrahim Nureni, Ahmadu Bello University
  7. Omotola Bilqees Otubela, University of Lagos
  8. Chukwudumebi Mercy Ofuonyeadi, University of Lagos
  9. Munah Nicola Tarpeh, University of Lagos
  10. Veronica Elias Ugian, University of Calabar

The period of the fellowship will begin in July 2018, and run for ten months.


Call for Entries

Opened for Entries 5 March 2018

Closed 30 April 2018

We are pleased to make the Call for Entries for the 2018 Wawa Book Review Young Literary Critics Fellowship Competition.

The ten winners of the competition will be offered a ten-month fellowship during which time they will receive practical training in literary criticism, new books from around the continent, a small monthly stipend and the chance to participate in an all-expenses-paid critical writing workshop with leading critics and editors from around the continent.

Entry is free. To enter, submit a review of one book from the ten listed below.

YA/ Children’s Literature: Eno’s Story by Ayodele Olofintuade, The Torn Petal by Teresa Oyibo Ameh

Drama: Iredi War by Sam Ukala, Melancholia by Dul Johnson

Poetry: A Woman’s Body Is a Country by Dami Ajayi, A Good Mourning by Ogaga Ifowodo

Fiction: Born on a Tuesday by Elnathan John, Season of Crimson Blossoms by Abubakar Adam Ibrahim

Non-fiction: Love Does Not Win Elections by Ayisha Osori, Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Any of the titles above may be reviewed. However, special consideration will be given to reviews of any of the books listed under the YA/ Children’s Literature and Drama categories. Nevertheless, all reviews will be judged based on the evidence of rigorous, analytical thought, creativity and a mastery of the use of English. The Terms and Conditions of the competition are below.

Terms and Conditions

Failure to meet the terms and conditions below would mean automatic disqualification from the competition:

  1. The competition and the fellowship are open to all students in Nigerian universities who were under the age of 35 as at 1 January 2018.
  2. Entries must be in the form of an email to comments@wawabookreview.com that must be received before 4pm on Monday, 30 April 2018.
  3. The subject of the email must be ‘Entry for the Wawa Book Review Young Literary Critics Fellowship Competition’.
  4. The body of the email must provide each of the following details on a separate line: the entrant’s full name, date of birth, gender, phone number and the book review word count. The body of the email must have nothing apart from the five lines described above.
  5. The book review entered for the competition must be between 1,000 and 1,500 words, typed in 12-point Arial typeface, single-spaced and attached as a pdf document.
  6. The entrant must not type their name or provide any other form of identification on the pdf attachment. All entries are to be judged blind.
  7. As attachments to the same email, the entrant must provide clear, scanned images of the front and the back of their student ID card.
  8. All emails that meet the terms and conditions will receive an acknowledgement on or before 5 May 2018. However, there will be no response to entries that do not meet the terms and conditions. There also will be no response to questions or any other sort of correspondence.
  9. No entrant should make multiple entries. No entry should have more than one book review attached. No book review should focus on more than one of the titles on the competition list, and only a book from the competition list should be reviewed.
  10. The fellows will be announced on the Wawa Book Review website on 28 May 2018. The award of the fellowship is subject to a winning entrant’s acceptance and signing of the fellowship contract. Wawa Book Review’s decision is final. No correspondence or discussion concerning Wawa Book Review’s decision will be entertained.