Introducing the 2024/25 Cohort of the London Library’s Emerging Writers Programme

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The London Library has unveiled the newest cohort of its premier Emerging Writers Programme, which supports early-career writers and is now entering its sixth year with the emerging writers hailing from across the UK, from Sussex to South Wales, Kent to County Durham, Birmingham, Bristol and London, Iran, Uganda to Sierra Leone, Brazil to the Dominican Republic.

From over 1,700 entries, 40 emerging writers were selected by a panel of judges which comprised of Sophie Hannah (crime writer, poet, short story writer, self-help author, and screenwriter), Sabrina Mahfouz (playwright, poet, and non-fiction writer), Amber Medland (novelist and non-fiction writer), Nii Ayikwei Parkes (novelist, poet, publisher, and children’s writer), Chris Power (novelist, short story writer, and literary critic), and literary agents Jenny Hewson and Jane Finigan from Lutyens and Rubinstein. 

Among this list are Africans from different parts of the continent. 

  • Hadiru Mahdi ( Sierra Leone )
  • Sabrina Mahtani ( British-Zambian )
  • Gift Nyoni ( Zimbabwe )
  • Maxine Sibhiwana ( Uganda )

Hadiru Mahdi is a writer and artist of Sierra Leonean descent. He makes music as a brother portrait and enjoys collaboration across disciplines. Themes in his work include objects as vessels; the power in space and place, language and map making. He is working on a project exploring memory and movement.

Sabrina Mahtani is a British-Zambian lawyer and writer. She has worked for several human rights organisations, including Amnesty International, The Elders and the Clooney Foundation for Justice. She hosts the Women Beyond Walls podcast, exposing the harms of the over-incarceration of women worldwide and inspiring women fighting to change a broken system. 

Gift Nyoni is a Zimbabwean-born writer and lawyer. His writing has been longlisted for the Bath Novel Award and BPA First Novel award. His short story, The Ritual Seat of the King, won the 2021 Guardian 4th Estate 4thWrite Prize. He is working on a collection of migrant love stories. 

Maxine Sibhiwana is a London-based poet and writer from Uganda. Her work explores themes of love, shame and questioning religious rituals, and has been published in Notebook by MUBI, Die Quieter Please, Lolwe and the James Currey Anthology of African Literature.

The London Library’s Emerging Writers Programme is geared towards supporting writers who have not yet published a full-length work of fiction, non-fiction, collection of poems, or had a full-length work professionally produced for stage/screen. The 2024/25 Programme will run from 1 July 2024 to 30 June 2025. 

To get the full list of all 2024/25 Cohort of the Emerging Writers Programme, kindly click here.

Congratulations Mahdi, Mahtani, Nyoni and Sibhiwana!


Bakare Oluwatobiloba

I write to educate, motivate and define history with literature. Just being me!