Download the full report including the fellowship commentaries and mentees biographies with the orange tab below.
Every year, I am always most excited about this SprinNG project because it is an opportunity where writers form a community of support, learning, and growth. In addition, I draw a lot of confidence from knowing the expertise, knowledge, and passion that every mentor brings to the table in ensuring the success of their assigned mentees.
This year, we received 567 applications for the SprinNG Writing fellowship. We accepted 44 mentees into the programme, 41 who completed the fellowship requirements and received their certifications. 40 mentors volunteered for this year’s fellowship.
Without a doubt, the mentors’ participation and commitment made this experience meaningful for the mentees. In the feedback forms that the mentees submitted, their words to describe the mentors’ impact in their lives are so memorable. They talked about each mentor’s compassion, relatability, support, and dedication.
Although the fellowship was only 6-weeks, these mentees have gained an experience they will cherish for life. The young stars of the 2021 SprinNG Writing Fellowship have discovered themselves, learned something new, gained strengths to overcome challenges, and realized that this is only a starting point of their potential.
For some, this fellowship is the closest experience to pursuing a master’s in creative writing because it puts them through a similar creative and mental rigor. Many mentees feel more confident about pursuing other literary, academic, and career opportunities as a result.
From this fellowship, mentees learnt beyond creative writing. They learned compassion, connection, time management, communication skills, proactiveness, self-advocacy, and more. They became well-rounded and improved their perspectives of themselves and the possibilities that life has to offer. They developed a different hope about their creative pursuit, contrary to common negative stereotypes against artistic interests. I am so proud of them for all these accomplishments and more.
I can only praise the effect of the fellowship so much. However, the fellowship report compiles the perspectives of the mentees in their own words. One that captures my attention is a comment by Olatunde Ilerioluwa, mentored by Jerry Chiemeke. Olatunde, who was mentored in book review writing, shared,
I saw improvement in my book reviews. Comparing the first review I submitted with the last review, the improvement was apparent. This can be attributed to the opportunity of learning from a renowned book reviewer.
One thing I learned from the fellowship was time management and consistency. I saw myself committed to something, and I was amazed. The deadlines on each task taught me discipline. I had to plan my weekly schedule to include the weekly tasks of the fellowship, taking into consideration the deadline.
I improved on my writing skill in general, and this is one reason I enjoyed interacting with the fellowship manual and the additional materials. The manual was concise and insightful, giving me the specific information and guidelines I need as a writer. For instance, learning that editing goes beyond brief reading for typos and spelling errors and includes re-writing, choosing the exact word needed, removing unnecessary words helped my writing. Before the programme, editing was an activity I avoided like a plague; however, this fellowship instilled the consciousness of ensuring my work is proofread and revised before submitting it.
The weekly tasks allowed me to reflect, and I am adopting this pattern into my life. There were days I had to sit quietly alone to answer the questions, for instance, “Why I write.” I could not write anything without asking myself that question first. As a result, it was a journey of discovery for me. I discovered my identity, message, and choice of the genre as a writer. I started writing more during the fellowship. I have made a mental note to write daily, read books beyond the surface to learn, and gain perspectives to write a review.
Olatunde Ilerioluwa’s words capture the true essence of this fellowship.
The SprinNG Team is grateful to the mentors for their volunteering, the mentees, their commitment, and the literary platforms that supported our expansion of the fellowship to Ghana. We are also grateful to the sponsors who provided scholarships for select graduating mentees to pursue the SprinNG Advancement Fellowship. Special thanks to the SprinNG Team, particularly Abdulsalam Abdul Dante, for managing the 2021 fellowship mentees and the SprinNG 2021 Intern, Adedolapo Lawal, for her unwavering support.
Facts and figures by the 2021 mentees and mentors of the fellowship:
All mentees agreed that
95.1% (38 mentees) identified that the fellowship improved their confidence and provided a sense of direction to their creative writing pursuits.
85.4% (35 mentees) said they would re-apply to be SprinNG fellows in a different category.
87.8% (36 mentees) found the contest as a motivating factor to their fellowship experience.
86.5% (32 mentors) said they want to be a mentor again.
Fellowship completion timeline:
SprinNG will keep pursuing its goal of revitalizing Nigerian literature and do so with passion, commitment, and the right support.
SprinNG’s Co-Founder and CEO