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African Writers Trust/New Writing North Digital Residency

New Writing North and the African Writers Trust have co-created a digital residency which will take place in Northern England and Uganda between May and July 2022. We are delighted to announce that the digital residency will be led by the acclaimed poet Nick Makoha.

This programme seeks to explore a range of voices and experiences that connect to a sense of home and heritage. We will work with a group of 18 to 25-year-old writers made up of participants based in Uganda and the UK, connecting communities and using technology and collaboration to cross geographical boundaries.

This programme is supported by the International Literature Showcase Collaboration Fund. The International Literature Showcase is a partnership between the National Centre for Writing and the British Council.

African Writers Trust (AWT) was established in 2009. The organisation brings together African writers living in the diaspora and on the continent, so as to promote synergies and foster collaborative learning between the two groups through skills development workshops, a writers’ residency, a biennial international writers conference and mentorship. AWT is based in Kampala, Uganda.

Lead Artist

Nick Makoha is the founder of The Obsidian Foundation, winner of the 2021 Ivan Juritz prize and the Poetry London Prize. In 2017, Nick’s debut collection, Kingdom of Gravity, was shortlisted for the FelixDennis Prize for Best First Collection and was one of the Guardian’s best books of the year.

Nick is a Cave Canem Graduate Fellow and the Complete Works alumnus. He won the 2015 Brunel International AfricanPoetry Prize and the 2016 Toi Derricotte & Cornelius Eady Prize for his pamphlet Resurrection Man. His play The Dark—produced by Fuel Theatre and directed by JMK award-winner Roy Alexander—was on a national tour in 2019. It was shortlisted for the 2019 Alfred Fagon Award and won the 2021 Columbia International Play Reading prize.

His poems have appeared in the Cambridge Review, the New York Times, Poetry Review, Rialto, Poetry London, TriQuarterly Review, 5 Dials, Boston Review, Callaloo and Wasafiri. He is a Trustee for the Arvon Foundation and the Ministry of Stories, and a member of the Malika’s Poetry Kitchen collective.


nickmakoha.com

Programme elements:

  • Workshops: Nick Makoha will lead a series of four specialist workshops focused on developing craft in poetry. No previous experience is needed to participate. The workshops will be two hours in length and delivered over Zoom.
  • Peer Exchanges: Participants will meet for two special exchanges, where they will share stories from their local community, reflect on what home means to them and enhance understanding and cross-communication around ways of working creatively. These sessions will be led by the participants but facilitated by New Writing North.
  • Guest Writer Sessions: there will be two additional guest-writer sessions. These will consist of readings and discussions. One session will be curated by New Writing North and the other by the African Writers Trust. They will last an hour.
  • Group Showcase: Participants will be invited to complete a short piece of creative work during the programme, either as written work or performance. This will be shared amongst the group during a group showcase, with an emphasis on participants offering each other encouragement and support. This session will be led by New Writing North and the African Writers Trust.
  • Showcasing: Participants will have the chance to have their writing featured on the New Writing North and African Writers Trust websites.

Who can take part:

  • Participation in the programme is free.
  • All writers must be between 18 and 25 at the time of application.
  • No writing experience is needed but you must have a willingness to commit to the programme and an interest in poetry. There will be required reading and regular writing exercises to complete.
  • There are 10 places in total:
    • 5 places are reserved for people based in Uganda.
    • 5 places are reserved for people based in the North of England. All applicants are welcome but we would particularly welcome applications from people of East African heritage for this opportunity.

To Apply

Please fill in the attached form. You will be asked to send a brief writing sample, as well as answer some short questions.  

Writers in Uganda interesting in applying should email  for further details.

Key dates for Participants

March
Application window closes: 18 March 2022

April
Participants informed: by 6 April 2022

May
Peer Exchange 1 led by New Writing North: 4 May 2022, 11am-12noon (UK) 2pm to 3pm (Uganda)

Workshop 1 with Nick Makoha: 11 May 2022, 11am-1pm (UK) 2pm to 4pm (Uganda)

Guest Writer Session (NWN): 18 May 2022, 11am-12noon (UK) 2pm to 3pm (Uganda)

Workshop 2 with Nick Makoha: 25 May 2022 11am-1pm (UK) 2pm to 4pm (Uganda)

June
Peer Exchange 2 led by New Writing North: 1 June 2022 11am-12noon (UK) 2pm to 3pm (Uganda)

Workshop 3 with Nick Makoha: 8 June 2022, 11am-1pm (UK) 2pm to 4pm (Uganda)

Guest Writer Session (AWT): 15 June 2022 11am-12noon (UK) 2pm to 3pm (Uganda)

Workshop 4 with Nick Makoha: 22 June 2022, 11am-1pm (UK) 2pm to 4pm (Uganda)

July
Group Showcase: 6 July 2022 11am-1pm (UK); 2pm to 4pm (Uganda)

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