Awardees: Saraba Manuscript Prize (Non-fiction Category)

JUNE 7, 2016: The winning proposals for the Saraba Manuscript Prize (Non-fiction Category) include the following:

  1. House No. 57Temitayo Olofinlua Kola Tubosun
  2. Life on a Blackboard – Vignettes of a Queer NigerianAmatesiro Dore
  3. Native TongueOla Osaze
  4. Petal on ThistlesVictor Akwu
  5. The Kenyan BoySocrates Mbamalu

Each awardee will be expected to complete a writing project by August 2016, following an award of the sum of 100,000 naira advance against royalties.

Upon completion of the manuscript, each writer will receive feedback by a writer established in the field (including Noo Saro-Wiwa and Maxim Uzoatu), after which the manuscript will be edited and published as part of the Saraba Manuscript Project.

The completed manuscripts will range in length from 10,000 to 25,000 words.

Congratulations to the awardees.

Proposal Details


  1. House No. 57Temitayo Olofinlua Kola Tubosun

Old houses have stories that reach far into time to tell; they are quiet mysteries that need to be unravelled. House No. 57 is the story of an old house in Iwo Road, Ibadan which, hiding in plain view, houses plenty stories similar to the story of the country itself. It is a story of its occupants: mother, father, daughter and son, tenants and neighbour; but particularly how their lives changed forever as a result of the Nigerian Civil War of 1967-1970. It is also a story of Nigeria, of human resilience and endurance, and of how preconceptions are sometimes insufficient when it makes contact with the grit of real life.


  1. Life on a Blackboard – Vignettes of a Queer NigerianAmatesiro Dore

Life on a Blackboard is a collection of autobiographical portraits of a gay Nigerian writer who has never travelled outside Nigeria. It is a personal account of his metamorphosis from an effeminate child at four, to a bisexually attracted child at six, to a gay law graduate at twenty. It explores his transition from a homophobic gay Christian to a self-loving adult living queer and healthy in Lagos. This collection of vignettes captures his childhood sexual discoveries in the Niger Delta, his Lagos adolescent and Benin teenage explorations, including his gay awakening in northern Nigeria and south-eastern exploits.


  1. Native TongueOla Osaze

My project, tentatively titled “native tongue”, is a collection of personal essays about the landscapes I have traversed as a Nigerian who lives a life that many African governments call “un-African,” which is the life of a queer person, as a person whose gender identity doesn’t fit the heteronormative and patriarchal idea of gender. Through these memoir vignettes I’ll complicate ideas about what it means to be African and illustrate the ways in which sexuality, gender, migration, and class can intersect in the lives and body of a Nigerian.


  1. Petal on ThistlesVictor Akwu

Petal on Thistles – A Memoir, captures a segment of my childhood—an experience of religious crisis during the Yelwa–Shendam Crisis of 2004. I was sixteen when the religious crisis broke out and I witnessed the polarization of society into two antagonistic lobes without fully understanding what was happening then. From 2009 to date, Nigeria is entangled in a war against itself. The present insurgency is what I can associate with. I know what it means to be a refugee, a destitute. However, I do not still understand why man will take the life of his fellow with such bestial and crude intensity. The memoir covers six years of my formative life: from 2000–2006. I placed in context my life before the war and after the religious upheaval.


  1. The Kenyan BoySocrates Mbamalu

The Kenyan Boy is a story about a Nigerian boy that lived in Kenya for ten years before coming back to his country. Despite being born in Nigeria and living there for five years, those years were not impressionable on him. Coming back to his country at the age of fifteen, he finds himself a foreigner. He comes to a country that is his home only on paper. He is unable to speak any of the Nigerian languages, not even the common Nigerian Pidgin English. He finds himself in a society so diverse and different and yet again he finds himself not a Nigerian but a Kenyan Boy as he is called by his friends.


Our goal with the Manuscript Project is to encourage and promote long-form writing by emerging writers, working in fiction and nonfiction. Up to ten manuscripts will be published in print and electronic form. Seed funding for the project was received from the Miles Morland Foundation.

For more information, contact prize administrator Olaoluwa Akinloluwa,