City Lit launched the Malorie Blackman ‘Unheard Voices’ Scholarships in 2019. The programme provides three annual awards worth up to £1000 each to fund study within the City Lit Creative Writing department. The awards seek to support and encourage the creative and professional development of ‘Unheard Voices’, and can be used to fund courses within the City Lit Creative Writing department. In May 2020, we announced the three winners of the scholarship programme and we’ve been following their writing adventures this year.
We recently caught up with Osob Dahir, one of the recipients of the scholarship programme, to find out more about her current writing projects and how the scholarship has helped her so far.
How do you feel that the scholarship has helped you so far?
I had a call with the City Lit Creative Writing Department at the start of the academic year in order to discuss my goals and ambitions. This was a really useful conversation as it has framed the courses I’ve selected and the decisions I’ve made on the programme so far.
The classes I’ve been attending through the scholarship have helped me to stay focussed during lockdown, exposed me to new authors and new writing techniques.
Which City Lit courses have you completed this year and can you tell us a little bit more why you’ve chosen these courses and what your highlights have been?
I’ve attended craft focus workshops on character and setting, and a course on fiction writing guides. I’m really interested in strengthening my fiction writing skills and have enjoyed learning about specific aspects of the craft.
One of my highlights has been participating in Reading for Writers: Contemporary Black British Fiction, which is taught by Maria Thomas. It’s been an excellent, rigorous and stimulating class.
Which City Lit courses are still on your wish list?
I’d love to take more craft focus courses and I have dialogue, how to edit your novel, narrative time in fiction and voice in fiction on my wish list.
What kind of writing projects have you been working on after winning the scholarship and what are your plans for 2021?
I have been working on my primary project which is a novel. Throughout 2020, I’ve workshopped my novel during feedback sessions with REWRITE ACADEMY, a writing programme that’s designed to develop and support Black Women and Women of Colour.
My plans for 2021 are to build on my fiction writing skills by attending a range of classes through the Malorie Blackman Scholarship. I will also be developing my book as part of Penguin’s WriteNow scheme, which is a mentoring and editorial programme that aims to help writers work towards publication.