Unigwe from Nigeria is the recipient of the Residency Award which she’ll take up at the Sylt Foundation’s headquarters within the next few months. This new residency opportunity is to be awarded annually to writers of contemporary African literature.
The 5 finalists shortlisted by the three selectors: Indra Wussow, Veronique Tadjo and renowned literary writer and academic Professor Helon Habila, were all very strong contenders. Unigwe was selected as a worthy recipient of the 2013 Award. The Sylt Foundation called in November 2012 for writers of contemporary African literature to apply for this two month African Writer’s Residency, offered as part of the Sylt Foundation’s multi-disciplinary Residency Programme.
The Foundation is located on the island of Sylt, off the coast of Hamburg, Germany. Its residency programme has been running for several years and offers opportunities to South African as well as international visual artists, writers and photographers. The programme is managed under the directorship of literary scholar and curator Indra Wussow.
This African Writer’s Residency Award provides a two month stay in a subsidized apartment to writers of contemporary African literature, who engage with current themes and concerns related to Africa and the African Diaspora. The Award is open to published writers of poetry, prose, plays and novels.
Following on the success of her many years of engagement with contemporary African and South African literature and poetry, Indra Wussow, Director of the Foundation, sought to leverage the residency programme. An invitation was extended for writers from Africa to submit proposals on projects they wished to work on. The Winner of the Award is then granted this wonderful opportunity to spend two months at the Foundation with their expenses subsidized. A stringent juried process by an experienced and credible panel of selectors and judges - all literary experts - selects the five finalists and from this shortlist selects the one Winner.
Previously residents were individually invited onto this programme. In 2012, however, the selection processes were formalized and published African writers are now invited to submit applications annually when the Call for Applications is made (as per the criteria) for selection onto the African Writers Residency Programme. One residency is awarded each year to one winning
applicant who takes up this exciting opportunity to enjoy a creative writing period while staying at the Foundation Kunst: Raum Sylt Quelle.
Unigwe was born in Enugu, Enugu State, Nigeria. She holds degrees from the University of Nigeria and the KU Leuven. She holds a PhD from the University of Leiden in Holland. She is the author of three novels, including On Black Sisters Street
(2009, 2011 Jonathan Cape, UK and Random House NY), recently listed as one of the 100 books by women everyone should read, andNight Dancer
(Jonathan Cape, 2012). She has also published school books with Macmillan, London.
press release Nigerian author Chika Unigwe wins the 2013 Sylt Foundation African Writer's Residency Award
Read more about the Sylt Foundation Residency Programme