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Writing Fellowships 2018

JIAS selected 11 Writing Fellows for its four-month Writing Term which ran from January to April 2018. Selected from more than 300 applicants, the Writing Fellows included outstanding authors, journalists, and scholars in various disciplines from Africa and Asia. Writing Fellows had access to live-in suites at the JIAS complex in Westdene, Johannesburg, where they enjoyed a quiet space for work and reflection, and participated in academic community-building. Pictures and biographical notes of the Writing Fellows follow. For a group picture taken in May 2018.

THE 2018 JIAS Writing Fellows with the JIAS Director, Prof Peter Vale. From left to right, back row: Zukiswa Wanner, Gerry Maré, Niq Mhlongo, Rory Riordan, Peter Vale, David Huang, Charlie Veric. Front row: Kevin Riordan, Amrita Shah, Meng-Hsuan Chou, Hans Pienaar, Geoffrey Maiyoh.

Dr Meng-Hsuan Chou

Dr Meng-Hsuan Chou is Nanyang Assistant Professor in the Public Policy and Global Affairs Programme at NTU Singapore, an Associate Fellow at EU Centre Singapore, and the Convenor of the ECPR Standing Group on the Politics of Higher Education, Research, and Innovation. Her research interests lie at the intersection of public policy, regionalism, and international relations. She is currently researching academic mobility to and from Singapore, how governments in Asia and Europe compete for talent in a globalised world, how scholarly networks are organised across time, and the emergence and evolution of higher education regionalisms.

Dr David Huang Junsong

Dr David Huang Junsong is Assistant Dean: Research Strategy in the Office of Education Research of the National Institute of Education (NIE) in Singapore. He is also a research scientist at the Learning Sciences Lab, NIE. Dr Huang works on delayed instruction and analogical transfer, with current focuses on preparation for future transfer, i.e., preparing students for transferring what they know to novel non-isomorphic situations. His other research interest is workplace collaboration. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Complexity in Leadership and Management (IJCLM), and a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Research Administration (JRA).


Dr Geoffrey Maiyoh

Dr Geoffrey Maiyoh is a Senior Lecturer and Postgraduate programme coordinator in the Department of Medical Biochemistry, School of Medicine, Moi University, Kenya. He completed his undergraduate training at Egerton University, Kenya, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry in 1999. In 2007, he graduated with a doctoral degree in Molecular Biosciences and Bioengineering from the University of Hawaii, Honolulu, USA. His current research focuses on non-communicable diseases, including diabetes and cancer. His research has received recognition through various top awards including a travel grant, and has been featured on various media sites including the Honolulu Advertiser (the main newspaper in Hawaii),, the HADSA newsletter, and He has served on the editorial boards of and as reviewer for various peer-reviewed journals. In 2015-2016, he led the development and implementation of the Master of Science in Medical Biochemistry curriculum in his department. He is among the most recent instrumental access equipment grant recipients from Seeding Labs, Boston, USA. He previously taught at the University of Eldoret, Mount Kenya University, and Kisii University.

Gerhard (Gerry) Maré

Gerhard (Gerry) Maré is emeritus professor through the University of KwaZulu-Natal, where he studied and worked in Sociology and Labour Studies. He retired in 2012, then as director of the Centre for Critical Research on Race and Identity, which he founded in 2006. His research interests have been mainly in ethnicity and race identities, with publications on nationalist politics and political violence. His book Declassified: Moving beyond the Dead End of Race was awarded a National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences prize (monograph) in 2017. Until 2017, Gerhard was co-convener of a four-year project entitled ‘Effects of Race’ at the Stellenbosch Institute of Advanced Studies (STIAS). While at JIAS, he intends to explore the relevance of approaches and analyses adopted in the 1970s and 1980s to the post-1994 context, centred on the concepts of tradition, ethnicity, and nation, and how they relate to the historical context of KwaZulu-Natal. He intends to draw on existing work, press material, secondary texts, and theoretical writing to illuminate ethnicity, tradition and nation through the lives of Mangosuthu Buthelezi, Jacob Zuma, and King Goodwill Zwelithini.


Niq Mhlongo

Niq Mhlongo was born in in Soweto in 1973. He is the author of three novels: Dog Eat Dog (2004), After Tears (2007), and Way Back Home (2013). Dog Eat Dog was translated into Spanish in 2006, and won the Mar de Letras prize. Niq’s first short story collection, Affluenza, was published in 2016 to great acclaim, and another will be published in 2018.

Hans Pienaar

Hans Pienaar writes novels, plays and poetry in Afrikaans and English while making a living as a journalist. He was a director of the anti-apartheid publisher Taurus, news editor of Vrye Weekblad, and reported for ten years on foreign affairs. Today he regularly writes think-pieces for Business Day and Litnet. He won the Cosaw Short Story Prize for ‘My Dog Hitler’, the Rapport Prize for ‘The Third War Against Mapoch’, and the national Pansa Prize for ‘Three Dozen Roses’. His latest play is ‘The Good Candidate’, and his latest novel My China. He is a former chairman of the Melville Poetry Festival.

Hans Pienaar
Rosebank, Johannesburg.
22 April 2015.

Photograph: John Hogg (c.)

Joel Quirk

Joel Quirk is a Professor of Politics at the University of the Witwatersrand. His research focuses on slavery and abolition, human mobility and human rights, global governance and the political economy of human rights activism, repairing historical wrongs, and the history and politics of sub-Saharan Africa. Recent works include The Anti-Slavery Project, Mobility Makes States, and Contemporary Slavery. Joel has also recently co-edited special issues on Repairing Historical Wrongs (Social & Legal Studies, 2012), Sampling Techniques in Johannesburg (Journal of Refugee Studies, 2012) and the Politics of Numbers (Review of International Studies, 2015). He is a current member of the International Scientific Committee of the UNESCO Slave Route Project, where he serves as rapporteur, and is also an editor for openDemocracy’s ‘Beyond Trafficking and Slavery’.

Amrita Shah

Amrita Shah is a journalist and writer. Well known for her pioneering investigations into the Mumbai underworld, she has worked for the Time-Life News Service, edited the features magazines Debonair and Elle India, and has been a contributing editor with The Indian Express. She is the author of Hype, Hypocrisy & Television in Urban India (Vikas, 1997), Vikram Sarabhai – A Life (Penguin-Viking, 2007) and Ahmedabad: a City in the World (Bloomsbury, 2015). She is a fellow of the Fulbright, Homi Bhabha and New India Foundations, and a recipient of the 2017 Tejeshwar Singh Memorial Award for Excellence in Writing on the Urban from Sage.


Kevin Riordan

Kevin Riordan is Assistant Professor of English at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. His research interests include modernism, theatre, and world literature, and his recent articles have appeared in journals such as Modern Drama, Performance Research, and American Studies. He is currently at work on his first book, ‘A Performance History of the Around-the-world Tour, in which he shows how individual travellers in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries produced and circulated a new sense of the global, an updated theatrum mundi that was unprecedentedly personal. Riordan is also a dramaturg and Resident Artist for the New York-based Theater Mitu.

Charlie Samuya Veric

Charlie Samuya Veric is a critic, poet, and curator interested in cultural themes in Philippine Studies and American Studies. His scholarship is published widely on both sides of the Pacific. He is also the author of two best-selling and acclaimed poetry collections, Histories (2015), and Boyhood: A Long Lyric (2017). In 2016, he curated the landmark exhibition ‘Figuring Filipino Utopia’, which explored the development of modern art following the formal decolonization of the Philippines. He is currently completing a book, titled ‘Children of the Postcolony’, which examines the emergence of a postcolonial history of ideas after the Philippines gained its independence from the United States in 1946. The first Filipino to receive a PhD in American Studies from Yale, where his dissertation was accepted without revision, he teaches literature and cultural theory at Ateneo de Manila University.


Zukiswa Wanner

Zukiswa Wanner is the author of four novels, two children’s books, a domestic satire, and a soon to be published literary travel memoir, Hardly Working. She judged the Etisalat Prize for Literature (now 9Mobile), the Commonwealth Short Story Prize, and the Writivism Short Story Prizes. Wanner is a facilitator of the Sol Plaatje University Fiction workshop, has facilitated the FEMRITE and Writivism workshops, and has co-facilitated a Caine workshop. She serves on the Advisory Board of the Ake Festival.


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