Call for Residency Application: African Writers

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

This is offered as part of the Sylt Foundation Residency Programme. One residency will be awarded annually to African writers who have published literary works of poetry, prose, plays and novels.

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 contemporary African literature, who are related to or engaging with contemporary themes and concerns of Africa and the African Diaspora. The Award is open to published writers of poetry, prose, plays and novels.

Following on 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 winning applicant will be selected by an experienced and credible selection panel of literary professionals. Previous 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 focus on 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 which is 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 to develop the ideas and do research related to this project.

Application requirements

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
  • 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
  • Two (2) Letters of Reference in English from literary professionals, publishers or academics

Plus an excerpt (stating the publishers) from:

  • one published book
  • a volume of poetry
  • a (publicly staged) play with information as to where and on what date it was staged

Note: Digital applications in MS Word or PDF documents only accepted (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)

The Selection Procedure:

Selection will be by two separate panels. The panels will comprise of the Foundation’s director - Indra Wussow – a literary scientist - and will include other literary experts. Every year new selection panels will be constituted. The panel will be convened by the Foundation and will be identified by their expertise.

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 (5) finalists. The second Judging Panel will review the 5 finalist’s applications and projects.

One Finalist writer will be selected as the Winner and recipient of the Sylt Foundation African Writer’s Residency Award each year.

Art Source South Africa are appointed by the Sylt Foundation as Organisers of the Award and manage this residency programme. The Organisers do not vote and have no influence on the selection and judging process.

Key Dates For the 2012 African Writer’s Residency:

  • A Call for Applications will go out in November 2012
  • Deadline for application submission is by 4pm Friday 15 February 2013
  • Announcement and notification of 5 shortlisted finalists 1 April 2013
  • Announcement of Residency Award Winner 1 June 2013
  • Residency to be taken up from June 2013 - 2014

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 to:
Organisers: Art Source South Africa
Enquiries: 011 447 2855 (Monday - Friday 9-4pm)

Direct enquiries and media queries via:
Phile Khumalo
Art Source South Africa
011 447 2855 (Monday - Friday 9-4pm)

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