December 2, 2023

According to the president of the society, Bernardine Evaristo, the latest fellows include a broad range of writers from “different parts of the UK, from different communities, different demographics.”

By Hope Ibiale

African writers, Leila Aboulela, Beverly Naidoo, Emma Dabiri, Sarah Ladipo Manyika, Tade Thompson, and Nesrine Malik, have been announced as the newly inducted fellows of the Royal Society of Literature (RSL). While Malik and Naidoo were elected through a vote by two existing fellows, Aboulela, Dabiri, Manyika, and Thompson, were elected through the open initiative which seeks to recognise underrepresented writers in the UK’s literary scene.

The fellows, who were announced a few days ago, signed their names into the RSL roll book using pens of famous literary geniuses like Charles Dickens, Lord Byron, George Eliot, and many others. Other writers, who were inducted as fellows include Maya Jaggi, Suniti Namjoshi, Owen Sheers, Richard Beswick, Janice Galloway, and others. According to the president of the society, Bernardine Evaristo, the latest fellows include a broad range of writers from “different parts of the UK, from different communities, different demographics.”

While commenting on her latest achievement, Leila Aboulela, said, “I am so happy and honoured alhamdulilah to be made a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Here I am being inducted by the President, Bernardine Evaristo, and signing the RSL Roll Book next to the Director Molly Rosenberg. I chose to sign with the pen of Jean Rhys.”

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Leila Aboulela is a Sudanese fiction writer, essayist, and playwright. Ever since Aboulela made her debut in 1999 with The Translator, she has published several works like Minaret, Bird Summons, River Spirit, and many others. She has won several awards including the Caine Prize for African writing, the Saltire Fiction Book of the Year award, and many others.

Beverly Naidoo is a South African author. The writer, who specialises in children’s books and picture books has written books like Baba’s Gift, Journey to Jo’burg, No Turning Back, and many others.

Emma Dabiri is an Irish-Nigerian author, broadcaster, and academic. Some of her works have appeared in academic journals and The Guardian, Irish Times, and others. Some of her works include Don’t Touch My Hair, and What White People Can Do Next: From Allyship to Coalition.

Sarah Ladipo Manyika is a British-Nigerian writer. Asides supporting young writers and female voices, Manyika is also the founding editor books editor of OZY. Her writing has appeared in publications like Granta, Brittle Paper, Transition, and others. Some of her works include In Dependence, Mr Wonder, and many others.

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Tade Thompson is a Nigerian-British writer and psychiatrist. The award-winning writer has works like the Wormwood Trilogy, Yard Dog, The Molly Southbourne Trilogy, and many others.

Nesrine Malik is a Sudanese author and journalist, who writes on British and American politics, identity politics, and Islamophobia. Malik is currently a columnist for The Guardian.

Founded in 1820, the Royal Society of Literature (RSL) is a society founded by King George IV, to “reward literary merit and excite literary talent.” Annually, fellows are chosen from those who have made a significant contribution to the advancement of literature, including publishers, agents, librarians, booksellers, or producers. With a range of 600 Fellows, elected from among the best writers in any genre currently at work, the society has continued to represent the voice of literature in the UK.

Open fellows were nominated by readers and writers before being considered by a judging panel consisting of acclaimed UK authors, including Monica Ali, Chibundu Onuzo, and Damian Barr.

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