African Writer's Residency Award

This award in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut offers a two month international working stay at the Foundation to writers of contemporary African literature, who are related to or engaging with contemporary themes and concerns of Africa and the African Diaspora.

Abubakar Adam Ibrahim
© Jill Jennings

Nigerian writer Abubakar Adam Ibrahim has been selected as the 2016 winner of the Goethe-Institut & Sylt Foundation African Writer´s Residency Award (AWRA).

Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, who lives in Abuja in Nigeria right now  is the recipient of the Writer’s Residency Award which he will take up at the Sylt Foundation´s headquarters in 2017. This new residency opportunity is awarded annually to writers of contemporary African literature. The previous winners were Nigerian writer Chika Unigwe in 2013, Ghanaian writer and poet Nii Parkes in 2014 and Ugandan writer Mildred Barya in 2015.

The Goethe-Institut & Sylt Foundation African Writer´s Residency Award (AWRA) provides a two months 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.

The Sylt Foundation is located on the island of Sylt off the coast of Hamburg in Germany. Its residency programme has been running for several years and offers opportunities to South African as well as international visual artists, writers, composers and film makers. The programme is managed under the directorship of literary scholar and curator Indra Wussow.

The Goethe-Institut is Germany’s cultural institute, active worldwide. They promote the study of German abroad and encourage international cultural exchange.

Since 2016 the award is presented in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The winner was selected by the three judges Nii Parkes (writer, poet and previous winner, Ghana/GB), Sinenhlanhla Buthelezi (Library and Project Co-ordinator Goethe-Institut Johannesburg), and Indra Wussow (literary scholar, curator and director Sylt Foundation) out of an impressive list of strong contenders from 14 African countries.

The jury commented: „Abubakar Ibrahim is an extraordinary writer who brings into the English language both a technical proficiency and a spirit of a distinctly non-English imagination. The ambitious literary project he will be working on during his residency is very contemporary and showed enormous strength“. 

Award winning writer and journalist Abubakar Adam Ibrahim is the author of the acclaimed short story collection, The Whispering Trees, (Parresia Publishers, Lagos, 2012) currently being used as study text in several Nigerian universities. He is listed by the Hay Festival in the Africa39 list of the most promising African writers under 40 who will shape the future of writing on the continent. In addition to winning the BBC African Performance Prize, he has been shortlisted for the 2013 Caine Prize for African Writing and long listed for the Etisalat Prize for ProseHe is a 2015 Civitella Ranieri Fellow, a 2013 Gabriel Garcia Marquez Fellow, 2013 and 2014 Caine Prize Fellow and a Fellow of the British Council Radiophonics programme (among others). His radio play has been broadcast by the BBC World Service and his fictions have been published in various reputable media. He currently works as the Arts Editor for the Abuja-based Daily Trust newspaper. He has been a judge for the Writivism Short story competition (2014) The Short Story Day Africa competition (2015) and the Eitisalat Flash Fiction Prize (2015) and has spoken at various international literature festivals.

Winning this award Abukabar Adam Ibrahim commented: „This is most delightful news. I am happy and honoured to receive this nod and yes, I can confirm my participation in 2017. I have only heard good things about Sylt and I am excited to be awarded the place.“

Press release (pdf)

in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut