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Tuesday, October 29, 2013


The Sylt Foundation calls all writers of contemporary African literature to apply for the two month African Writer’s Residency Award.

This is offered as part of the Sylt Foundation Residency Programme. One residency will be awarded annually to an African writer who has published (not self-published) literary works of either poetry, prose, plays and novels. African literature refers to literature of and from Africa.

The Foundation is located on the island of Sylt, off the coast of Hamburg, Germany. The Foundation has an established residency programme which offers opportunities to South African and international visual artists, writers and photographers. It is managed under the directorship of literary scholar and curator Indra Wussow.

This African Writer’s Residency offers an award of a two month residency to writers of African literature, whose work engages with contemporary themes related to Africa and the African Diaspora. The Award is open to published writers of poetry, prose, plays and novels by an African writer, whether in Africa or elsewhere, published in the English language.

Following the success of many years of engagement with contemporary African and South African literature and writers, the Foundation has sought to leverage its residency programme by inviting applications from African writers who through a juried selection process, will be awarded this invaluable opportunity. The winner will be selected by an experienced and credible selection panel of literary professionals.

Previously residents were individually invited onto this programme. In 2012, however, the residency procedures were formalized and published African writers are now invited to submit applications (as per the criteria) for selection onto the African Writers Residency Programme. One residency is awarded each year to one winning applicant who will take up this exciting opportunity to enjoy creative writing time at the Foundation Kunst: Raum Sylt Quelle.

This period will provide the writer with:
- an opportunity to initiate or complete a project in progress
- a quiet space suitable for contemplation and research
- an uninterrupted period for writing
- a means to leverage their artistic profile
- an opportunity to engage with other international writers and artists

While writers are managing career and personal demands, the vital process of conceptualizing and reflection, researching and developing new ideas, so essential to the writing process is often limited. A period of quiet uninterrupted time to focus on exploring ideas is critical to this process - often a challenge when balancing the pressures of everyday life.

The contemporary African writer who wins this Award is expected to work on or complete the writing project they proposed in their application. The residency aims to provide an opportunity for the writer to develop ideas and to do research related to this project.

Writers of African literature are invited to submit a project proposal of the project they wish to work on while in residence. It can be a current or proposed literary project. Or a synopsis of the novel, short story or poetry project

Applications to include copy of a valid passport conforming to Schengen visa requirements; full curriculum vitae; writer’s profile in English (500 words), and two letters of reference in English from literary professionals, publishers or academics

Also required is an excerpt (stating the publishers) from one published book; a volume of poetry, or a (publicly staged) play with information as to where and when it was staged

Note: Digital applications in MS Word or PDF documents only (no hard copy proposals accepted) (The copyright of all published material will be respected by the Foundation so digital copies of published books may be submitted and will be handled with due care. Material submitted will not be returned to the applicant)

Selection will be by two separate panels, convened by the Foundation and will comprise literary experts and the Foundation’s director Indra Wussow (a literary scientist). Every year new panellists will be appointed. The names of the panellists and their profiles will be made public via the Sylt Foundation’s website ( and on Art Source South Africa’s Facebook page.

The initial Selection Panel will evaluate all the applications received and will shortlist five finalists. The second Judging Panel will review the finalist’s applications and projects. One winner will be selected from the finalists and will be the recipient of the Sylt Foundation African Writer’s Residency Award each year.

Art Source South Africa has been appointed Organisers of the Award and manages this residency programme. The Organisers do not vote and have no influence on the selection and judging process.

Key Dates For the 2014 African Writer’s Residency:
- Deadline for application submission is 16h00 on February 21, 2014
- Announcement and notification of 5 shortlisted finalists April 1, 2014
- Announcement of Residency Award Winner April 30, 2014
- Residency to be taken up from June 2014 – November 2015

No late applications will be considered. Applications will be kept confidential. For additional information: or Art Source South Africa’s Facebook page

Submit e-mail entries and direct enquiries to Tammy Langtry on 011 447 2855 (Monday to Friday 09h00 to 16h00) or e-mail: