Tutor Jennifer Makumbi wins Windham-Campbell prize!

We at Mawazo are extremely excited by and proud of the huge award our current workshop instructor, Jennifer Makumbi, won last week. The $165,000 Windham-Campbell prize was set up to “provide writers with the opportunity to focus on their work independent of financial concerns”.

[Read Makumbi’s interview with the BBC]

Writing fiction can be a lonely and badly-paid task, especially for African writers, and so it is hugely encouraging to see that one of our own has been recognized and rewarded for her labor, skills and creativity. It makes us feel that we too can attain literary success at an international level without abandoning our particularly African themes, concerns and stylistic approaches.

I’m sure each of our participants in our current Writing the Novel workshop feels a fresh urge to keep pushing on with their novels-in-progress.

We asked Ms. Makumbi what she would like to say to aspiring African writers, in light of her award, and this is what she says:

“Write what you are dying to read rather than what you think people want to read. Make sure you enjoy writing it and, believe me, readers will enjoy it too.

Write /right on!

Writing the Novel Workshop: Meet the Participants

We were excited to receive over 30 manuscripts in response to our call for submissions for our very first course, Writing the Novel. But we only had six spots for Africa-based authors.

After several meetings and the help of readers across the continent who volunteered their time and expertise, we were able to narrow down the list. And for the last month, we have had a great start with our great mix of writers — a bio-technologist, editors, a pharmacist, and a lecturer — who sign in from different corners of the continent every Monday evening to critique each other’s work and learn together, led by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, sitting at her desk in Manchester, UK. Here they are below.

MoraaAnne Moraa is a Kenyan writer, editor and performer. She is the Managing Editor of Nia Teen magazine at ZanaAfrica and co-founder of Oil Creatives, a storytelling consulting company. An Amplify Fellow and founding member of Jalada Africa, her writing can be read in Jalada, KikeTele, Bakwa, Brainstorm and Short Story Day Africa among other publications. She has a Masters degree in Creative Writing (Distinction) from the University of Edinburgh. Follow her on twitter @tweetmoraa.


PASSPORT WOzimede Sunny Ekhalume is a pharmacist from Nigeria. His writing has appeared in The Missing Slate, Cecile’s Writers, African Voices, Kalahari Review, Praxis Magazine, African Writer, Café Aphra, Poetry Pacific, Winamop and Africa Book Club. His storybook for children was shortlisted for the 2016 Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) Prize for Children’s Literature.
He looks forward to making his novel manuscript “print-ready.”

DoreenDoreen Anyango is a Ugandan bio-technologist and writer. Her short fiction has been published both online and in print. She blogs at doroanyango.blogspot.com. She lives in Fort Portal, Uganda where she spends her days running a plant tissue culture lab and being intrigued by this life. She is currently working on her first novel.



Nana Nyarko Boateng
describes herself as a writer, poet and an editor. She is CEO at Gird Center, a writing, editing, and training services company in Accra, Ghana. She has taught creative writing workshops in schools across Ghana and at the University of Lomé. Her work can be found in 13 anthologies including Lusaka Punk and Other StoriesReflections: An Anthology of New WorkSummoning the Rain: An Anthology and the New Ghanaian Poet’s Look Here You Have Gone to Sit: An Anthology.

IMG_5482Ivy Nyayieka is a Kenyan writer who graduated from Yale with a double B.A. in English Literature and African Studies. She publishes her work on her personal blog and other outlets such as the Huffington Post. She is excited that Mawazo’s workshop is midwifing her novel-in-progress. She is glad to meet other African writers with whom she hopes to continue exchanging feedback about writing after the workshop.

Madhlozi Moyo, from Zimbabwe, has been writing since he was the 16, and his first novella was written in Ndebele. He holds a PhD in Classical Studies. His thesis was a comparative analysis of ancient Greek and proto-literate African oral traditions. He lectures in the areas of Classical Greek and Latin literature at the University of Zimbabwe. He has published some poetry, but in this workshop will be working on a manuscript he started in 2010.

CLOSED: Call for Submissions: Mawazo Novel Writing Workshop 

Call for Submissions: Mawazo Novel Writing Workshop

Mawazo Africa Writing Institute announces a Call for Submissions for its first writing workshop: Writing the Novel, led by award-winning author Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi. The aim of the workshop is to provide advanced training and support to African writers who want to complete full-length novel manuscripts (normally of 30,000 words minimum). The workshop will be held online and is a free pilot program.

Workshop Description

The workshop will be held online over three months, from January to March 2018, and will consist of weekly 3-hour group sessions with the facilitator by video conference. Thereafter, participants will be given two months to revise their full drafts, and in June 2018, assigned editors to review the revised manuscripts.

The workshop will be limited to six African writers selected on the basis of their draft manuscript excerpts. The workshop will focus on the discussion and critique of the participants’ writing and the study of craft through the reading and analysis of published novels. The goal is for participants to complete their books by the end of the workshop period.

Submission Deadline

The submission period is from September 10th to October 31st 2017. Successful applicants will be informed on December 15th 2017.


The workshop is open to:

  • Writers based on the African continent (living in an African country) with at least one parent who is a citizen of an African country.
  • Writers who have not yet published a full-length novel with an established publisher (self-published authors may apply).

Submission Guidelines

Please read the Call for Submissions and send the following attached as WORD documents to submissionsmawazo@gmail.com, with the subject head: Novel Workshop Submission:

  1. A 30,000-word excerpt of a draft novel manuscript in English.
  • Adult literary or genre fiction (not children’s fiction).
  • Unpublished in book form.
  • Include a title page with name of author, contact address, email and phone number.
  • Include name, title and page number on each page.
  • Format: Times New Roman size 12 font, black, 2.0 spacing.
  1. A synopsis of the novel of not more than 500 words.
  2. A biography of not more than 150 words.
  3. A 500-word rationale on why you write and why you want to participate in this workshop.

About the facilitator

Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi is a Ugandan novelist and short story writer living in Manchester, UK. She has a PhD from Lancaster University and has taught Creative Writing and English for the last ten years at British universities. Her novel, Kintu, won the Kwani Manuscript Project in 2013. It was published in 2014 in Kenya and the US and was long-listed for the Etisalat Prize 2014. Jennifer’s short story, Lets Tell This Story Properly won the regional (Africa) and overall Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2014.

With support from the Miles Morland Foundation and the Department of English, University of Bristol.