Submit to The Literary Laddership for Emerging African Authors

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The Literary Laddership for Emerging Authors is open for submissions until March 31, 2024. The program, which was established by Nigerian writer Suyi Okungbowa Davies in 2022, is a three-component writing fellowship aimed at supporting, elevating, and connecting emerging fiction authors of African descent writing from Africa.

The three parts include a digital residency which provides fellows with funds to buy time, space and resources to create new work or complete an existing one; a community of practice consisting of fellows and other emerging authors alongside writing professionals sharing craft lessons, best practices and creating new knowledge; and a publishing ecosystem which support fellows with the necessary resources to aid submission and publication of their work, educate fellows on various publishing routes, and offer access to publishing professionals (agents, editors, etc).

The fellowship is supported by an advisory board consisting of Dhonielle Clayton, Tade Thompson, Makena Onjerika, Ukamaka Olisakwe, Kwame Mbalia, Wale Lawal, and Alexander Cochran. Previous winners include Olaposi Halim (Benin City, Nigeria), Davina Kawuma (Kampala, Uganda), Gabrielle Emem Harry (Calabar, Nigeria), and Yanjanani L. Banda (Zomba, Malawi).

Submissions guidelines for the 2024 fellowship include the following:

  • The program is open to writers of all subgenres of fiction, including literary, science fiction, fantasy, horror, romance, thriller/mystery, etc.
  • All submissions must be in English.
  • Applicants must be citizens of African nations and primarily reside on the African continent.
  • The submission deadline is March 31, 2024, at 11:59 PM West African Time (WAT).
  • Submit your application to

The required documents to attach in your application email are:

1. Cover letter: In the email body, briefly describe your basis for meeting the eligibility criteria.

2. Writing sample: A sample of 3,000 words max (doc, docx, pdf), across 2 different works, split however the author wishes. We will receive any kind of work, but excerpts from a lengthy work-in-progress (novel or novella) are recommended over shorter fiction (flash, short stories, novelette). Please do not send in one work of 3,000 words. Judges would like to see how authors work across different pieces.

3. Project description, fellowship plan, budget: A separate document (2 pages max, single spaced) detailing:

  • why you should get this fellowship
  • what you will be working on while here
  • how you will spend the funds to achieve this plan

NOTE: The proposed work in your plan MUST be a manuscript of minimum novella-length (i.e. 17,500 – 40,000 words) or novel length (i.e. 40,000+ words). All applicants must be aged 18 and above.

The 2024 cohort will be announced within 30-90 days from the application deadline.