ILS is calling for Applications!

Applications are open until 7th August, 2023

International Literary Seminars (ILS) in collaboration with Jahazi Press is awarding full fellowships to four talented, emerging East African creative writers & poets. The fellowships will cover tuition, travel and accommodation for the three recipients. These merit-based fellowships are designed for upcoming writers who are looking to grow their writing skills with the guidance of an experienced ILS faculty and a community of peer writers.

ILS 2023 will feature:

  • An intensive series of craft development sessions and in situ writing exercises led by Polina Barskova, and Josip Novakovich.
  • Manuscript-based workshops where participants review each other’s work and receive targeted feedback from Billy Kahora and Dawn Raffel in Fiction, and Kaveh Akbar and Mildred Kiconco Barya in Poetry.
  • Lectures and discussions with prominent authors such as Mikhail Iossel, Billy Kahora, Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor, Idza Luhumyo, and an editor of Fence, to be announced.

The full list of faculty can be viewed online at:

ILS 2023 will launch in Nairobi where participants will interact with local and international writers as well as attend readings by core faculty members and guests. This will be followed by a week of writing workshops in Lamu.

All East African applicants will automatically be entered into the 2023 ILS Fiction Contest and considered for publishing in Yolk and Fence magazines. This will also be a unique opportunity to listen to New Yorker editor, Deborah Treismann and acclaimed short story writer, George Saunders.

Who may apply?

This call-out is open to individuals based in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan & Somalia. Priority will be given to emerging authors.

All participants must meet the following criteria:

  • Be available between 6 – 20 December, 2023, and willing to travel between Nairobi and Lamu.
  • Submit a writing sample that represents their best work as a Word Doc. Names must be included in the file title but not on the document. The sample should be unpublished, and be between 3000 – 6000 words.
  • If you are a poet submit 3 samples of your work.
  • Upload writing sample to apply to the programme.

Important dates:

  • 7 August – Submissions close
  • 5 December – Program is launched
  • 20 December – Program ends

NB: This program will be offered in English. Late applications will not be considered.