CSU Carson McCullers Center Announces New Fellowship Recipient

Columbus State University's Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians recently announced that novelist, essayist, story writer Samuel Kọ́láwọlé is the winner of the 14th annual Marguerite and Lamar Smith Fellowship for Writers. As the fellowship recipient, Kọ́láwọlé will live and work in Carson McCullers's childhood home, the Smith-McCullers House, in Columbus in the fall.

Samuel Kọ́láwọlé was born and raised in Ibadan, Nigeria. His work has appeared in AGNI, Gulf Coast, Kweli and elsewhere. He has also contributed to anthologies within and outside the African continent.

A finalist for the Graywolf Prize for Africa, Kọ́láwọlé has been the recipient of fellowships from the Norman Mailer Center in New York City; the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa and writing residencies from Wellstone Center in Redwoods California, and the Island Institute. He is a graduate of the noted Clarion West Writers Workshop for writers of Science fiction and Fantasy and he is a Charter member of the African Speculative Fiction Society.

Kọ́láwọlé studied at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, and holds a Master of Arts degree in Creative Writing with distinction from Rhodes University, South Africa, and an MFA in Writing and Publishing at Vermont College of Fine Arts, USA.

During his residency, Kọ́láwọlé will live and work at the Smith-McCullers House from September to December 2019. While in Columbus, he intends to work on the manuscript of his novel The Hunt, a fantasy work based on West African mythology. The story's main character, Akinkanju, an accomplished hunter running from his past, unwittingly finds himself entangled in "The Hunt," a supernatural high-stakes contest presided over by the gods for their twisted amusement and involving the best and bravest hunters across the land in a mythical forest of the gods. Akinkanju braves perilous circumstances and an epic journey in an attempt to bring back his family from the dead and find peace.

Named in honor of Carson's parents, The Marguerite and Lamar Smith Fellowship for Writers was inspired by McCullers's experience at the Breadloaf Writer's Conference in Vermont and, especially, the Yaddo Arts Colony in Saratoga Springs, New York. To honor the contribution of these residency fellowships to McCullers's work, the Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians awards fellowships for writers to spend time in McCullers's childhood home in Columbus, Georgia. The fellowships are intended to afford the writers in residence uninterrupted time to dedicate to their work, free from the distractions of daily life and other professional responsibilities.