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Fellowship for writers, poets from the north holds this may

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The swelling population of young people across Northern Nigeria tends to be discussed in mainstream conversation in problematic terms: drug-addled, unemployed and unemployable, canon fodder for extremist ideologies, etc. But there is a counter-narrative that situates the North’s youth bulge in the realm of its socio-economic potential, and one Bada Murya, a six-month digital fellowship for writers and poets from the region, aims to urgently center.

Bada Murya invokes the power of narrative/storytelling to shift perceptions and facilitate accountability. Following a call for application and the selection of 15 fellows from a total of 438 entries, the fellowship begins on May 18, with a class led by award-winning writer and journalist, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim.

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Other facilitators include Wana Udobang, Aisha Oshori, Dike Chukwumerije, Efe Paul Azino and Saddiq Dzukogi.

According to Azino, creative director of Creative Africa, organisers of the fellowship, “the applications showed a range of talent and themes, reflecting the urgent social, political and psychological concerns of the moment.

“There is a strong tradition of literary, cultural and artistic production from the North, and we are happy to contribute to it. For a region as beleaguered by stereotypes as it is by poor leadership or extremist ideologies, challenging the prevailing narrative is important,” he said.

The fellowship, which is designed to connect Northern conversations to a global audience in a way that challenges stereotypes and empowers a new generation of storytellers, will produce an anthology (published by Narrative Landscape Press) and a special performance showcase at the 2021 edition of Lagos International Poetry Festival. 

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